Announcements

Job offersmore »

Tweeting Growers

Top 5 - yesterday

Top 5 - last week

Top 5 - last month

Exchange ratesmore »




Thrips warn each other of danger chemically

How dangerous is the enemy coming your way? Some animals want to warn each other so that they can flee. An insect, the Californian thrip, which has caused damage in horticulture, can encrypt information about danger in a chemical alarm signal. From NWO research from PhD student Paulien de Bruijn (University of Amsterdam) it appears that the previously considered primitive insects have this skill that was formerly only associated with mammals.

Animals need to stay alert for predators. With these warning signals, animals don't have to use so much time staying alert for danger. It was already recognised that some mammals alter their alert signal depending on the type of danger. Blue monkeys have 3 different alarm sounds for different predators.


© Jan van Arkel - predatory bugs attack thrips


Are chemicals as effective as noise?
An alarm can take many forms, such as vocal, chemical, visual and mechanical. Vocal communication was previously thought to be the only way in which the level and nature of the danger could be communicated. But lots of insects use a chemical alarm signal (alarm pheromone). Ecologist Paulien de Bruijn therefore researched whether this pheromone release could be changed depending on the situation, by changing the component elements, for example.

Trips larvae
De Bruijn used thrips in her study and exposed the larvae to a relatively safe enemy (predatory mites) or a really dangerous enemy (predatory bugs).

The thrips seemed to change their alarm signal depending on the type of danger. Thrips produce alarm pheromone in dangerous situations. This is a mix of two materials: decyl acetaat and dodecyl acetaat. With an increasing level of danger, the amount of pheromone increased and also the mix was changed.

The variable alarm signal of thrips is far more complex and detailed that was previously thought. Presumably, such alarm signalling can also take place in a lot of other anthropods. The research from De Bruijn therefore asks new questions about the existence and evolution of alarm signals.

Presentation
Paulien de Bruijn is presenting her doctorate on Tuesday 23 June 2015 at the Instituut voor Biodiversiteit en Ecosysteem Dynamica (IBED) of the University of Amsterdam.
Mw. P.J.A. de Bruijn: Context-dependent Chemical Communication, Alarm Pheromones of Thrips Larvae. Promotors are prof. dr. M.W. Sabelis (†) and prof. dr. S.B.J. Menken. Copromotor is dr. C.J.M. Egas.

The research is financed by the Open Programma of NWO Aard- en Levenswetenschappen.

Source: NWO


Publication date: 6/22/2015

 


 

Other news in this sector:

7/16/2018 US (NJ): Cucurbit downy mildew found on Belvidere cucumbers
7/16/2018 Keep those bumblebees cool
7/13/2018 Effect of low-frequency electromagnetism on root-knot nematodes
7/13/2018 Growing healthier with insect netting
7/12/2018 The value of biorationals in pest resistance management
7/12/2018 US: Greenspire Global expands distribution network
7/12/2018 Australia: Pepper growers take disease management masterclass
7/10/2018 UK: £500,000 for further development of organic pesticides
7/10/2018 US: Cucurbits at risk for downy and powdery mildew
7/9/2018 Blight - Lessons for the future of pest management
7/9/2018 US (MS): Southern blight hitting state’s tomatoes hard
7/6/2018 UK: Tri-Component System for black vine weevil and western flower thrips
7/6/2018 "Small bee ‘pollen thieves’ are not effective bumblebee substitutes"
7/6/2018 US: Torac insecticide granted expanded label for vegetable crops
7/5/2018 Nigeria: NIHORT develops technology to fight tomato pest
7/5/2018 US (WA): Researchers combat costly parasitic worm
7/5/2018 US (MD): Bacterial wilt problems in cucurbits
7/5/2018 North America: Biopesticides Conference highlights importance of IPM
7/5/2018 BASF expands global insecticide portfolio
7/4/2018 Two new races of Bremia lactucae identified and nominated in Europe