Sequence of arrival determines plant-mediated interactions between herbivores

Erb, Matthias; Robert, Christelle A. M.; Hibbard, Bruce E.; Turlings, Ted C. J. (2011). Sequence of arrival determines plant-mediated interactions between herbivores. Journal of Ecology, 99(1), pp. 7-15. Blackwell 10.1111/j.1365-2745.2010.01757.x

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Induced changes in plant quality can mediate indirect interactions between herbivores. Although the sequence of attack by different herbivores has been shown to influence plant responses, little is known about how this affects the herbivores themselves. We therefore investigated how induction by the leaf herbivore Spodoptera frugiperda influences resistance of teosinte (Zea mays mexicana) and cultivated maize (Zea mays mays) against root-feeding larvae of Diabrotica virgifera virgifera. The importance of the sequence of arrival was tested in the field and laboratory. Spodoptera frugiperda infestation had a significant negative effect on colonization by D. virgifera larvae in the field and weight gain in the laboratory, but only when S. frugiperda arrived on the plant before the root herbivore. When S. frugiperda arrived after the root herbivore had established, no negative effects on larval performance were detected. Yet, adult emergence of D. virgifera was reduced even when the root feeder had established first, indicating that the negative effects were not entirely absent in this treatment. The defoliation of the plants was not a decisive factor for the negative effects on root herbivore development, as both minor and major leaf damage resulted in an increase in root resistance and the extent of biomass removal was not correlated with root-herbivore growth. We propose that leaf-herbivore-induced increases in feeding-deterrent and/or toxic secondary metabolites may account for the sequence-specific reduction in root-herbivore performance. Synthesis. Our results demonstrate that the sequence of arrival can be an important determinant of plant-mediated interactions between insect herbivores in both wild and cultivated plants. Arriving early on a plant may be an important strategy of insects to avoid competition with other herbivores. To fully understand plant-mediated interactions between insect herbivores, the sequence of arrival should be taken into account. © 2011 The Authors. Journal of Ecology © 2011 British Ecological Society.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Biotic Interactions

UniBE Contributor:

Erb, Matthias, Robert, Christelle Aurélie Maud


500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)








Matthias Erb

Date Deposited:

06 Oct 2014 14:17

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:35

Publisher DOI:


Additional Information:

cited By (since 1996)38

Uncontrolled Keywords:

above-ground–below-ground interactions, Diabrotica virgifera, induced resistance, plant-mediated effects, plant–herbivore interactions, plant quality, Spodoptera frugiperda, systemic signalling, Zea mays, teosinte




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