Job offersmore »

Tweeting Growers

Top 5 - yesterday

  • No news has been published 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.

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:

3/16/2018 Bioline expands Amblyseius andersoni line with new sachet format
3/15/2018 "Got aphids? Call in the reinforcements with banker plants"
3/15/2018 UK: New tool for powdery mildew control
3/14/2018 "Promising results in assessing new methods in IPM"
3/14/2018 Bayer publishes crop protection safety studies
3/13/2018 Italy: TYLCV variant risks damaging entire economy
3/13/2018 Spanish pepper grower successful with predatory mite
3/12/2018 Countries get heads up about leafminer invasion thanks to Virginia Tech
3/9/2018 Sri Lanka: Increased awareness about pest management and food safety
3/8/2018 Nufarm acquires Century portfolio from Syngenta and Adama
3/8/2018 Russia intercepts 250 kg of thrips-infected strawberries
3/7/2018 Protecting pollinators: What role can the greenhouse industry play?
3/6/2018 Philippines: Experts to increase plum tomato productivity
3/6/2018 Sclerotinia - an underestimated greenhouse disease
3/5/2018 BASF’s 2018 science competition focuses on plant stressors
3/5/2018 British-Chinese research unlocks strawberry disease resistance
3/5/2018 US (NH): Most prevalent weeds on New England's organic vegetable farms
3/1/2018 BASF expects to earn €3.5 billion with crop protection innovation
3/1/2018 UK: Stopping soil spread key to preventing lettuce Fusarium wilt
3/1/2018 UK: New priorities announced for plant protection research programme