Journal of Pest Science (2018) 91, 55-64

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Sarra Bouagga, Alberto Urbaneja, José L. Rambla, Antonio Granell and Meritxell Pérez-Hedo (2018)
Orius laevigatus strengthens its role as a biological control agent by inducing plant defenses
Journal of Pest Science 91 (1), 55-64
Abstract: Orius laevigatus is a generalist predator that is widely used in augmentative strategies against the key pest of sweet pepper, Frankliniella occidentalis. Despite being a zoophytophagous predator, the phytophagous behavior of O. laevigatus has not been previously explored in depth nor has the impact of phytophagy on plant physiology. Here, the hierarchical significance of O. laevigatus feeding on sweet pepper is compared with other behaviors. O. laevigatus spends the majority of its time (38%) feeding on apical meristems and apical fresh leaves, which were also preferred residence locations. Here, the phytophagous feeding behavior of O. laevigatus on sweet pepper is shown to trigger defensive responses in the plant. These O. laevigatus plant-induced defenses are then shown to contribute to the repellence or attraction of pests or natural enemies, respectively. Specifically, O. laevigatus-punctured sweet pepper plants induce repellency for the whitefly Bemisia tabaci and the thrips species F. occidentalis. In contrast, the whitefly parasitoid Encarsia formosa was significantly attracted to O. laevigatus-punctured plants. The plant responses to O. laevigatus punctures include the release of an altered blend of volatiles and activation of the jasmonic acid and salicylic acid signalling pathways. These results highlight an interesting facet to the biology of O. laevigatus, in which the ability of the predator to induce defensive responses in sweet pepper plants may serve to improve the biological control of both thrips and whiteflies.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
Link to article at publishers website

Database assignments for author(s): Alberto Urbaneja

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
biocontrol - natural enemies
Research topic(s) for beneficials or antagonists:
general biology - morphology - evolution

Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.
Frankliniella occidentalis Green pepper/chilli (Capsicum)
Encarsia formosa (parasitoid)
Orius laevigatus (predator) Frankliniella occidentalis Green pepper/chilli (Capsicum)