Plant defense responses triggered by phytoseiid predatory mites (Mesostigmata: Phytoseiidae) are species-specific, depend on plant genotype and may not be related to direct plant feeding
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AuthorCruz-Miralles, Joaquín; Cabedo-López, Marc; Guzzo, Michela; Pérez-Hedo, Meritxell; Flors, Victor; Jaques, Josep A.
Cita bibliográficaCruz-Miralles, J., Cabedo-López, M., Guzzo, M., Pérez-Hedo, M., Flors, V. & Jaques, J. A. (2021). Plant defense responses triggered by phytoseiid predatory mites (Mesostigmata: Phytoseiidae) are species-specific, depend on plant genotype and may not be related to direct plant feeding. BioControl, 2021, 1-14.
Zoophytophagous arthropods can elicit plant defense responses affecting potential prey beyond predation. Phytophagy prevails as the main trigger for these responses, as in the case of Euseius stipulatus (Athias-Henriot) (Mesostigmata: Phytoseiidae), a predator occurring in citrus. Because other triggers cannot be excluded, our aim was to examine whether other phytoseiids co-occurring with E. stipulatus but not engaged in plant feeding [Neoseiulus californicus (McGregor) and Phytoseiulus persimilis Athias-Henriot] could induce similar responses (in terms of herbivore induced plant volatiles, HIPVs, and main defensive pathways), and how these affected the behavior of conspecifics and the shared prey, Tetranychus urticae Koch (Prostigmata: Tetranychidae). N. californicus triggered plant genotype-specific defense responses, including the production of different HIPVs compared to clean plants. However, we could not observe these effects for P. persimilis. T. urticae avoided better protected plants, because of stronger direct or indirect defense. As plants with weaker direct defense levels should offer higher prey densities, and those harboring conspecific predators represent higher risk of cannibalism, predators were expected to behave similarly. However, they did not. Our results demonstrate that plant defense triggered by phytoseiids is species-specific, depend on plant genotype and can be triggered by non-feeding activities. As N. californicus is a highly efficient predator used worldwide, further studies with this species are needed. Likewise, cineol, one of the volatiles identified in the blends triggered by this phytoseiid, could be used to manipulate the prey. These studies could pave the way for a more efficient use of phytoseiids in agroecosystems.