- Intraspecific variation in a generalist herbivore accounts for differential induction and impact of host plant defences
- Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences
- Volume | Issue number
- 275 | 1633
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS)
Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)
Plants and herbivores are thought to be engaged in a coevolutionary arms race: rising frequencies of plants with anti-herbivore defences exert pressure on herbivores to resist or circumvent these defences and vice versa. Owing to its frequency-dependent character, the arms race hypothesis predicts that herbivores exhibit genetic variation for traits that determine how they deal with the defences of a given host plant phenotype. Here, we show the existence of distinct variation within a single herbivore species, the spider mite Tetranychus urticae, in traits that lead to resistance or susceptibility to jasmonate (JA)-dependent defences of a host plant but also in traits responsible for induction or repression of JA defences. We characterized three distinct lines of T. urticae that differentially induced JA-related defence genes and metabolites while feeding on tomato plants (Solanum lycopersicum). These lines were also differently affected by induced JA defences. The first line, which induced JA-dependent tomato defences, was susceptible to those defences; the second line also induced JA defences but was resistant to them; and the third, although susceptible to JA defences, repressed induction. We hypothesize that such intraspecific variation is common among herbivores living in environments with a diversity of plants that impose diverse selection pressure.
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