Zoophytophagous mirids provide pest control by inducing direct defences, antixenosis and attraction to parasitoids in sweet pepper plants.
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AuthorBouagga, Sarra; Urbaneja, Alberto; Rambla, Jose L.; Flors, Victor; Granell, Antonio; Jaques, Josep A.; Perez-Hedo, Meritxell
Cita bibliográficaBouagga, S., Urbaneja, A., Rambla, J. L., Flors, V., Granell, A., Jaques, J. A., Perez-Hedo, M. (2017). Zoophytophagous mirids provide pest control by inducing direct defences, antixenosis and attraction to parasitoids in sweet pepper plants. Pest Management Science,
BACKGROUND: In addition to their services as predators, mirid predators are able to induce plant defences by phytophagy. However, whether this induction occurs in sweet pepper and whether it could be an additional benefit to their role as biological control agent in this crop remains unknown. Here, these questions are investigated in two model insects, the mirids Nesidiocoris tenuis and Macrolophus pygmaeus. RESULTS: Plant feeding behaviour was observed in both N. tenuis and M. pygmaeus on sweet pepper and occupied 33% and 14% of total time spent on the plant respectively. The punctures caused by mirid plant feeding induced the release of a blend of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) which repelled the herbivore pests Frankliniella occidentalis and Bemisia tabaci and attracted the whitefly parasitoid Encarsia formosa. The repellent effect on B. tabaci was observed for at least 7 days after initial exposure of the plant to N. tenuis, and attraction of E. formosa remained functional for 14 days. CONCLUSION: Feeding induced plant defences by mirid predators, their subsequent effects on both pests and natural enemy behaviour, and the persistence of these observed effects open the door to new control strategies in sweet pepper crop. Further application of this research is discussed, such as the vaccination of plants by zoophytophagous mirids in the nursery before transplantation.