Host Plants Affect the Foraging Success of Two Parasitoids that Attack Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana (Walker) (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae)

Yi Feng, Stephen Wratten, Harpinder Sandhu, Michael Keller

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    13 Citations (Scopus)


    The light brown apple moth, Epiphyas postvittana is a key pest of wine grapes in Australia. Two parasitoids, Dolichogenidea tasmanica and Therophilus unimaculatus, attack the larval stage of this pest. D. tasmanica is dominant in vineyards, whereas T. unimaculatus is mainly active in native vegetation. We sought to understand why they differ in their use of habitats. Plants are a major component of habitats of parasitoids, and herbivore-infested plants influence parasitoid foraging efficiency by their architecture and emission of volatile chemicals. We investigated how different plant species infested by E. postvittana could affect the foraging success of the two parasitoid species in both laboratory and field experiments. Four common host-plant species were selected for this study. In paired-choice experiments to determine the innate foraging preferences for plants, both parasitoid species showed differences in innate search preferences among plant species. The plant preference of D. tasmanica was altered by oviposition experience with hosts that were feeding on other plant species. In a behavioral assay, the two parasitoid species allocated their times engaged in various types of behavior differently when foraging on different plant species. For both parasitoids, parasitism on Hardenbergia violacea was the highest of the four plant species. Significantly more larvae dropped from Myoporum insulare when attacked than from the other three host-plant species, which indicates that parasitism is also affected by interactions between plants and host insects. In vineyards, parasitism by D. tasmanica was significantly lower on M. insulare than on the other three host-plant species, but the parasitism rates were similar among the other three plant species. Our results indicate that plants play a role in the habitat preferences of these two parasitoid species by influencing their foraging behavior, and are likely to contribute to their distributions among habitats.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere0124773
    Pages (from-to)Artl: e0124773
    Number of pages20
    JournalPLoS One
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2015


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