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Endophytic fungi decrease available resources for the aphid Rhopalosiphum padi and impair their ability to induce defences against predators


Züst, T; Härri, S A; Müller, C B (2008). Endophytic fungi decrease available resources for the aphid Rhopalosiphum padi and impair their ability to induce defences against predators. Ecological Entomology, 33(1):80-85.

Abstract

1. The production of winged morphs is a well known mechanism of induced defence in aphids to escape from natural enemies, and is also a reaction to poor resource quality.
2. Host plants of aphids often associate with endophytic fungi that have been shown to reduce the fitness of some species of aphids.
3. It was hypothesised that endophyte infection of host plants that represent a low quality plant resource should increase the aphid’s induced response to a predator because
both low plant quality and predator presence represent a stronger cue for wing production than predator presence alone.
4. In a laboratory experiment, bird cherry-oat aphids Rhopalosiphum padi L. were exposed to the factors predator threat and endophyte infection and the effects of these
factors on the proportion of winged morphs produced by the aphid colonies was analysed.
5. The presence of endophytic fungi strongly decreased aphid colony sizes. When a predator threat was present, all colonies on endophyte-free grasses produced winged morphs whereas only a few colonies were able to produce winged morphs on endophyteinfected grasses. However, these few colonies produced larger proportions of winged morphs than colonies on endophyte-free grasses. Without a predator threat, no colonies on endophyte-infected grasses produced any winged morphs.
6. These results show that aphids in stressed conditions and with reduced fitness will only invest in inducible defences when predators are present but are unable to produce winged morphs in response to endophyte presence.

Abstract

1. The production of winged morphs is a well known mechanism of induced defence in aphids to escape from natural enemies, and is also a reaction to poor resource quality.
2. Host plants of aphids often associate with endophytic fungi that have been shown to reduce the fitness of some species of aphids.
3. It was hypothesised that endophyte infection of host plants that represent a low quality plant resource should increase the aphid’s induced response to a predator because
both low plant quality and predator presence represent a stronger cue for wing production than predator presence alone.
4. In a laboratory experiment, bird cherry-oat aphids Rhopalosiphum padi L. were exposed to the factors predator threat and endophyte infection and the effects of these
factors on the proportion of winged morphs produced by the aphid colonies was analysed.
5. The presence of endophytic fungi strongly decreased aphid colony sizes. When a predator threat was present, all colonies on endophyte-free grasses produced winged morphs whereas only a few colonies were able to produce winged morphs on endophyteinfected grasses. However, these few colonies produced larger proportions of winged morphs than colonies on endophyte-free grasses. Without a predator threat, no colonies on endophyte-infected grasses produced any winged morphs.
6. These results show that aphids in stressed conditions and with reduced fitness will only invest in inducible defences when predators are present but are unable to produce winged morphs in response to endophyte presence.

Citations

6 citations in Web of Science®
12 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Ladybird larvae, Neotyphodium coenophialum, non-lethal predator, pheromone, poor-quality host, reproductive compensation, wing induction
Language:English
Date:February 2008
Deposited On:23 Jan 2009 08:40
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:44
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:0307-6946
Additional Information:The definitive version is available at www.blackwell-synergy.com
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2311.2007.00940.x

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