The use of salivary α-amylase as an evolutionary solution to host selection in parasitoids

Using an integration of behavioral observations, biochemical and sensory physiological approaches we demonstrate that female parasitoids of Cotesia flavipes recognize their host and oviposit in reaction to an -amylase, which is present in the oral secretions of the larvae of their host, Chilo partellus



Scholarcy highlights

  • One of the strategies of biological control of pest insects is based on the use of natural enemies.Among natural enemies, insect parasitoids comprise the major biological control agents, able to control insect populations in the wild
  • The oral secretions of C. partellus previously fed on maize stems induced significant antennation and stinging attempt
  • A compound involved in host acceptance for oviposition by the wasp C. flavipes isolated from the oral secretion of the larval host C. partellus was identified as an α-amylase
  • In Pieris brassicae larvae, the β-glucosidases of the oral secretion causes the release of volatile organic compounds from Brassicaceae plants that attract parasitoids
  • We have not tested yet if this enzyme induces the release of VOCs that can attract parasitoids, direct perception of the α-amylase upon contact elicits the antennation and stinging attempt behaviors of the parasitoid
  • Polypeptides and proteins have previously been reported as chemical signals in the host selection process by hymenopteran parasitoids, the definitive identification of such protein or polypeptide has never been achieved
  • We observed a clearer and stronger behavioral response of C. flavipes with the oral secretion of C. partellus containing the genuine α-amylase than with all the other tested amylases

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