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Differential aphid toxicity to ladybeetles is not a function of host plant or facultative bacterial symbionts [Functional Ecology]

Keywords : defence, facultative bacterial symbionts, polyphagy, sequestration

par Frédéric Magné - publié le

1.Herbivores often defend themselves from predation by transmitting toxic plant-produced chemicals to their enemies. Polyphagous herbivores sometimes exhibit differential toxicity when found on various host plant species, which is generally assumed to reflect variation in plant chemistry.
2.Here, however, we provide evidence that host-associated herbivore lineages can intrinsically differ in their toxic properties. Lineages of Aphis craccivora originating from black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) are unsuitable food for the ladybeetle Harmonia axyridis, resulting in death of both larvae and adults, whereas aphid lineages originating from alfalfa (Medicago sativa) support larval development and adult reproduction. We show that locust-origin aphids remain toxic and alfalfa-origin aphids remain non-toxic when reared on any of three legume plants (fava, alfalfa or locust).(...)

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