Diadegma insulare development is altered by Plutella xylostella reared on water-stressed host plants.

Munir, S., Dosdall, L.M., O'Donovan, J.T., and Keddie, A.B. (2015). "Diadegma insulare development is altered by Plutella xylostella reared on water-stressed host plants.", Journal of Applied Entomology. doi : 10.1111/jen.12257  Access to full text


Natural enemies of herbivores function in a multitrophic context, and their performance is directly or indirectly influenced by herbivores and their host plants. Very little is known about tritrophic interactions between host plants, pests and their parasitoids, particularly when the host plants are under any stress. Herbivores and their natural enemies’ response to plants under stress are diverse and variable. Therefore, in this study we investigated how diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella (L.), reared on water-stressed host plants (Brassica napus L. and Sinapis alba L.) influenced the development of its larval parasitoid, Diadegma insulare (Cresson). No significant differences were observed in development of P. xylostella when reared on water-stressed host plants. However, all results indicated that water stress had a strong effect on developmental parameters of D. insulare. Development of D. insulare was delayed when the parasitoid fed on P. xylostella, reared on stressed host plants. Egg to adult development of D. insulare was faster on non-stressed B. napus than non-stressed S. alba followed by stressed B. napus and S. alba. Female parasitoids were heavier on non-stressed host plants than stressed counterparts. Furthermore, the parasitoid lived significantly longer on stressed B. napus. However, body size was not affected by water treatment. Most host plant parameters measured were significantly lower for water-stressed than non-stressed treatments. Results suggest that development of this important and effective P. xylostella parasitoid was influenced by both water stress and host plant species.

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