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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2009

Airborne interactions between undamaged plants of different cultivars affect insect herbivores and natural enemies

Glinwood, Robert; Ahmed, Elham; Qvarfordt, Erika; Ninkovic, Velemir; Pettersson, Jan


This study investigated the effects of airborne interaction between different barley cultivars on the behaviour of bird cherry-oat aphid Rhopalosiphum padi, the ladybird Coccinella septempunctata and the parasitoid Aphidius colemani. In certain cultivar combinations, exposure of one cultivar to air passed over a different cultivar caused barley to have reduced aphid acceptance and increased attraction of ladybirds and parasitoids. Parasitoids attacked aphids that had developed on plants under exposure more often than those from unexposed plants, leading to a higher parasitisation rate. Ladybirds, but not parasitoids, were more attracted to combined odours from certain barley cultivars than either cultivar alone. The results show that airborne interactions between undamaged plants can affect higher trophic levels, and that odour differences between different genotypes of the same plant species may be sufficient to affect natural enemy behaviour.


Aphid; Ladybird; Parasitoid; Volatiles

Published in

Arthropod-Plant Interactions
2009, Volume: 3, number: 4, pages: 215-224