Plant responses to insect egg deposition

Hilker, M.; Fatouros, N.E.


Plants can respond to insect egg deposition and thus resist attack by herbivorous insects from the beginning of the attack, egg deposition. We review ecological effects of plant responses to insect eggs and differentiate between egg-induced plant defenses that directly harm the eggs and indirect defenses that involve egg parasitoids. Furthermore, we discuss the ability of plants to take insect eggs as warning signals; the eggs indicate future larval feeding damage and trigger plant changes that either directly impair larval performance or attract enemies of the larvae. We address the questions of how egg-associated cues elicit plant defenses, how the information that eggs have been laid is transmitted within a plant, and which molecular and chemical plant responses are induced by egg deposition. Finally, we highlight evolutionary aspects of the interactions between plants and insect eggs and ask how the herbivorous insect copes with egg-induced plant defenses and may avoid them by counteradaptations.