Response of the zoophytophagous predators Macrolophus pygmaeus and Nesidiocoris tenuis to volatiles of uninfested plants and to plants infested by prey or conspecifics

Lins, J.C.; Loon, J.J.A. van; Bueno, V.H.P.; Lucas-Barbosa, D.; Dicke, M.; Lenteren, J.C. van


Knowledge about the orientation mechanisms used by two important predaceous mirids (Macrolophus pygmaeus Rambour and Nesidiocoris tenuis (Reuter)) in finding their prey (whitefly Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) and the tomato borer Tuta absoluta (Meyrick)) is limited. In a Y-tube olfactometer, we tested the behavioral responses of naïve and experienced predators to uninfested plants, herbivore-induced plant volatiles (HIPVs) from plants infested with T. absoluta and/or B. tabaci, the sex pheromone of T. absoluta, and volatiles produced by plants injured by the predators. Nesidiocoris tenuis responds to volatiles produced by uninfested plants only after experience with the plant, whereas naïve and experienced M. pygmaeus show positive chemotaxis. Both predators are attracted to volatiles from prey-infested plants, and we provide the first evidence that experience affects this response in M. pygmaeus. Infestation of the same plant by both prey species elicited similar responses by the two predators as plants infested by either herbivore singly. Neither predator responded to sex pheromones of T. absoluta. Macrolophus pygmaeus avoided plants injured by conspecifics, while N. tenuis females were attracted by such plants. The implications of these results for augmentative biological control are discussed.