Pest Management Science - 2023 - Hettiarachchi - Plant phylogeny determines host selection and acceptance of the.pdf (865.65 kB)

Plant phylogeny determines host selection and acceptance of the oligophagous leaf beetle Cassida rubiginosa

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posted on 2023-12-13, 02:44 authored by Dilani Hettiarachchi, Michael Rostás, Jon SullivanJon Sullivan, Sarah JackmanSarah Jackman, Chikako van KotenChikako van Koten, Mike CrippsMike Cripps

BACKGROUND: Predicting the host range of biocontrol agents is important for the safe and effective implementation of biocontrol of weeds. In this study, we examined the phylogenetic pattern of host selection and acceptance by the biocontrol beetle, Cassida rubiginosa. The beetle was released in New Zealand for control of Cirsium arvense, its primary host plant, but has potential to attack many Cardueae (thistles and knapweeds) species. We conducted a series of no-choice and choice experiments and modelled the responses of Cassida rubiginosa in relation to phylogenetic distance from Cirsium arvense.

RESULTS: The olfactory recognition (single odour) and preference (two odours) of the beetle showed a significant phylogenetic relationship. These relationships showed a high degree of correlation with 66.9% of the variation in olfactory recognition and 82.8% of the variation in olfactory preference explained by phylogeny. Where the beetle could contact plants, under no-choice conditions there was no phylogenetic pattern to host plant acceptance. However, under choice conditions, phylogenetic distance was a strong predictor of feeding and oviposition preference. These relationships showed a high degree of correlation, with 63.4% of the variation in feeding preference, and 89.0% of the variation in oviposition preference, explained by phylogeny.

CONCLUSIONS: As far as we are aware, this is the first demonstration of an herbivorous insect that exhibits a phylogenetic pattern to olfactory host plant selection. Host plant utilisation by Cassida rubiginosa in New Zealand will be mostly restricted to Cirsium and Carduus species, with minimal potential for impact on other Cardueae weeds.


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© 2023 The Authors. Pest Management Science published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Society of Chemical Industry. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.

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John Wiley & Sons Ltd

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Pest Management Science



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