Plant strategies of manipulating predatorprey interactions through allelochemicals: Prospects for application in pest control

  • Dicke M
  • Sabelis M
  • Takabayashi J
 et al. 
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To understand the role of allelochemicals in predator-prey interactions it is not sufficient to study the behavioral responses of predator and prey. One should elucidate the origin of the allelochemicals and be aware that it may be located at another trophic level. These aspects are reviewed for predator-prey interactions in general and illustrated in detail for interactions between predatory mites and herbivorous mites. In the latter system there is behavioral and chemical evidence for the involvement of the host plant in production of volatile allelochemicals upon damage by the herbivores with the consequence of attracting predators. These volatiles not only influence predator behavior, but also prey behavior and even the attractiveness of nearby plants to predators. Herbivorous mites disperse away from places with high concentrations of the volatiles, and undamaged plants attract more predators when previously exposed to volatiles from infested conspecific plants rather than from uninfested plants. The latter phenomenon may well be an example of plant-to-plant communication. The involvement of the host plant is probably not unique to the predator-herbivore-plant system under study. It may well be widespread since it makes sense from an evolutionary point of view. If so, prospects for application in pest control are wide open. These are discussed, and it is concluded that crop protection in the future should include tactics whereby man becomes an ally to plants in their strategies to manipulate predator-prey interactions through allelochemicals.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Predator
  • allelochemicals
  • behavior
  • chemical identification
  • host plant
  • kairomone
  • pest control
  • plant defense
  • prey
  • tritrophic interactions

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