Crop Biotech Update

Parasitoids Larvae in Caterpillars Affect Behavior of Moths

December 2, 2011

Entomologists at the Wageningen University together with French colleagues have discovered that parasitoid larvae within caterpillars that feast on cabbage plants make the plant unattractive for the moths to lay their eggs. The researchers found this in the study of parasitoid-caterpillar and host interaction. They also found that individual species of parasitoid have different effects on the caterpillar's saliva as manifested in the color of the saliva.

In addition, the parasitic wasps that infest cabbage white caterpillars kill the caterpillars at the same time make the cabbage plants less attractive to another enemy, the diamondback moth. Erik Poelman, one of the researchers, calls this a ‘spectacular' discovery, and adds: "This could help us to develop an environmentally-friendly way of protecting cabbage plants from diamondback moths."

Details on this discovery can be viewed at http://www.wur.nl/UK/newsagenda/news/P083eCaterpillars.htm