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Olfactory attractiveness of flowering plants to the parasitoid Microplitis mediator: potential implications for biological control

Belz, Elodie; Kölliker, Mathias and Balmer, Oliver (2013) Olfactory attractiveness of flowering plants to the parasitoid Microplitis mediator: potential implications for biological control. BioControl, 58, pp. 163-173.

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Online at: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10526-012-9472-0#

Summary

In agricultural landscapes, the lack of floral nectar can be a major difficulty for nectar feeding parasitoids. This problem can be reduced by the addition of suitable wildflowers. To date, flowers have mainly been studied in terms of effects on parasitoid fitness, not taking into account the essential role of flower attractiveness for foraging parasitoids.
This study experimentally tested the olfactory attractiveness of five wildflowers (bishop’s weed, cornflower, buckwheat, candytuft, and oregano) to the parasitoid Microplitis mediator (Haliday) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). We conducted choice experiments in a Y-tube olfactometer to test the attractiveness of flowers against air, and relative attractiveness in paired choice tests. Our results showed that all the flowers were highly attractive and that in paired choice tests cornflower and candytuft were equally attractive and more attractive than buckwheat. These results indicate that M. mediator has evolved innate preferences that could be effectively exploited in biological control.


EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Hymenoptera, Braconidae, Parasitic wasp, Attraction, Flower odor, Floral, Pflanzenschutz und Biodiversität, Biocontrol
Subjects: Environmental aspects > Biodiversity and ecosystem services
Crop husbandry > Crop health, quality, protection
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Plant Protection and Biodiversity
Switzerland > Other organizations
Deposited By: Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau, FiBL
ID Code:25007
Deposited On:15 Jan 2014 21:05
Last Modified:15 Jan 2014 21:05
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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