Responses ofThrips tabacito odours of herbivore-induced cotton seedlings

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Herbivore-induced changes in plants have been widely viewed as defensive responses against further insect attack. However, changes in plants as a consequence of herbivore feeding can elicit various responses in herbivores; these are variable, context dependent, and often unpredictable. In this laboratory study, the responses of Thrips tabaci Lindeman (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) to volatiles emitted by intact and herbivore-damaged or mechanically damaged cotton seedlings [Gossypium hirsutum L. (Malvaceae)] were investigated in dual-choice olfactometer assays. Thrips tabaci showed increased attraction to seedlings subject to foliar mechanical damage and those with foliar damage inflicted by conspecifics or Tetranychus urticae Koch (Acari: Tetranychidae), upon which it preys. However, T. tabaci did not discriminate between intact seedlings and those with foliar damage inflicted by Helicoverpa armigera Hübner (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), two other species of thrips, Frankliniella schultzei Trybom and Frankliniella occidentalis Pergrande (Thysanoptera: Thripidae), or those with root damage inflicted by Tenebrio molitor L. (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae). Attraction of T. tabaci was also affected by herbivore density on damaged plants. That is, seedlings damaged by higher densities of T. urticae or T. tabaci were more attractive than seedlings damaged by lower densities of the corresponding arthropod. Although attracted to plants damaged by conspecifics or T. urticae, T. tabaci showed greater attraction to seedlings damaged by T. urticae than to seedlings damaged by conspecifics. Results are discussed in the context of the responses of F. schultzei and F. occidentalis to herbivore-induced cotton seedlings, highlighting the complexity, variability, and unpredictability of the responses of even closely related species of insects to plants under herbivore attack.

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