The olfactive responses of Tetranychus urticae natural enemies in citrus depend on plant genotype, prey presence, and their diet specialization

  • Marc Cabedo-López
  • Joaquín Cruz-Miralles
  • Sandra Vacas
  • Vicente Navarro-Llopis
  • Meritxell Pérez-Hedo
  • Víctor Flors
  • Josep A. JaquesEmail author
Original Paper


Sour orange, Citrus aurantium, displays higher constitutive and earlier inducible direct defenses against the two-spotted spider mite, Tetranychus urticae, than Cleopatra mandarin, Citrus reshni. Moreover, herbivore-induced plant volatiles (HIPVs) produced by sour orange upon infestation can induce resistance in Cleopatra mandarin but not vice versa. Because the role of these HIPVs in indirect resistance remains ignored, we have carried out a series of behavioral assays with three predatory mites with different levels of specialization on this herbivore, from strict entomophagy to omnivory. We have further characterized the volatile blend associated with T. urticae, which interestingly includes the HIPV methyl salicylate, as well as that produced by induced Cleopatra mandarin plants. Although a preference for less defended plants with presumably higher prey densities (i.e., C. reshni) was expected, this was not always the case. Because predators’ responses changed with diet width, with omnivore predators responding to both HIPVs and prey-related odors and specialized ones mostly to prey, our results reveal that these responses depend on plant genotype, prey presence and predator diet specialization. As the different volatile blends produced by infested sour orange, induced Cleopatra mandarin and T. urticae itself are attractive to T. urticae natural enemies but not to the herbivore, they may provide clues to develop new more sustainable tools to manipulate these agriculturally relevant species.


Sour orange Cleopatra mandarin Phytoseiulus persimilis Neoseiulus californicus Euseius stipulatus HIPV 



The research leading to these results was partially funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (AGL2014-55616-C3; AGL2015-64990-2R). The authors thank M. Piquer (UJI) for technical assistance. MC received a pre-doctoral fellowship from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (BES-2015-074570), and MP was the recipient of a research fellowship from INIA, Spain (subprogram DOC INIA-CCAA).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 3 (DOCX 27 kb)


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Unitat Associada d’Entomologia Agrícola UJI-IVIA, Departament de Ciències Agràries i del Medi NaturalUniversitat Jaume I (UJI)Castelló de la PlanaSpain
  2. 2.Centro de Ecología Química Agrícola – Instituto Agroforestal del MediterráneoUniversitat Politècnica de ValènciaValenciaSpain
  3. 3.Unitat Associada d’Entomologia Agrícola UJI-IVIA, Institut Valencià d’Investigacions Agràries (IVIA)Centre de Protecció Vegetal i BiotecnologiaMontcadaSpain
  4. 4.Integración Metabólica y Señalización Celular, Departament de Ciències Agràries i del Medi NaturalUniversitat Jaume I (UJI)Castelló de la PlanaSpain

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