Following damage by herbivores, many plants release volatiles that dissuade future conspecifics from feeding. In many crop plants however, induced volatiles mediating this kind of interactions among plants, herbivores and also their natural enemies have been altered through the process of domestication. The selection of crops for increased yield may\nhave gone at a cost of defense, possibly including defense-related volatiles. Dalbulus maidis (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae), a specialist leafhopper that only feeds on Zea spp., is a vector of Corn Stunt Spiroplasma, a serious maize disease.\nHere, we compared the volatiles released following D. maidis attack by a maize landrace and two maize hybrids of temperate and tropical background. Also, we performed behavioral assays with the leafhopper contrasting healthy nonattacked maize seedlings versus attacked seedlings. The maize landrace produced more than 6-fold larger quantities of induced volatiles compared to the maize hybrids after herbivory. Corn leafhopper females were able to detect and significantly preferred the odors of healthy seedlings over the attacked ones only in the landrace. They did not discriminate between the attacked and on-attacked hybrids. Additionally, we found that the attraction of the parasitoid wasp Anagrus virlai (Hymenoptera: Mymaridae) to its host was diminished in the tested hybrids. The parasitoid was able to detect the odors of the attacked landrace, however it was unable to discriminate between healthy and attacked maize hybrid plants. These results suggest that those more domesticated germplasms may have lost the ability not only to release volatiles that avoid colonization of future herbivores, but also to attract their natural enemies in a tritrophic system.
Coll Aráoz, M. V.; Hill, J. G.; Luft Albarracín, E.; Virla, E. G.; & Fernández, P. C. (2020). Modern maize hybrids have lost volatile bottom - up and top - down control of Dalbulus maidis, a specialist herbivore. Journal of chemical ecology,46, (9),p.906–915
Coll Aráoz, María Victoria, Hill, Jorge G., Luft Albarracín, Erica, Virla, Eduardo G., Fernández, Patricia Carina. 2020. "Modern maize hybrids have lost volatile bottom - up and top - down control of Dalbulus maidis, a specialist herbivore". Journal of chemical ecology 46, no.9:906–915.
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