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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2013

Constitutive and herbivore-induced systemic volatiles differentially attract an omnivorous biocontrol agent to contrasting Salix clones

Lehrman, Anna; Boddum, Tina; Stenberg, Johan A; Orians, Colin M.; Björkman, Christer


While carnivores are known to be attracted to herbivore-induced plant volatiles, little is known about how such volatiles may affect the behaviour of omnivorous predators that may use both plants and herbivores as food. Here, we examine how systemically produced plant volatiles, in response to local herbivore damage, differentially attract a key omnivorous predator, Anthocoris nemorum (Heteroptera: Anthocoridae), to single clones of three species of Salix: S. viminalis, S. dasyclados and S. cinerea. The profiles of the plant volatiles produced were found to vary among Salix clones and between herbivore-damaged and intact plants. Anthocoris nemorum was attracted to the volatiles released from undamaged plants of all three species, but most strongly to a native S. cinerea clone. Plants damaged by the herbivorous leaf beetle Phratora vulgatissima (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) were generally more attractive than undamaged plants, with A. nemorum responding to systemic changes in the damaged plants where the experimental design specifically excluded volatiles released from the actual site of damage. When comparing damaged plants, the S. dasyclados clone was more attractive to A. nemorum than the S. viminalis clone-a somewhat surprising result since this Salix clone is considered relatively resistant to P. vulgatissima, and hence offers a limited amount of prey. Our experiments highlight that both constitutive and induced plant volatiles play a role in omnivore attraction, and this emphasizes the importance of considering odours of released volatiles when cropping and breeding Salix for increased resistance to herbivores.


Biocontrol; biological control; blue willow beetle; common flowerbug; E-4,8-dimethyl-1,3,7-nonatriene; GC electro-antennogram; Z-3-hexenyl acetate; short rotation coppice

Published in

2013, Volume: 5, article number: plt005