Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Parasitic Wasps Protect Offspring By Avoiding The Smelly Feet Of Ladybirds

Date:
September 25, 2006
Source:
Biotechnology And Biological Sciences Research Council
Summary:
Scientists at Rothamsted Research have identified how aphid parasitic wasps prevent their offspring being eaten by ladybirds. The tiny wasps implant their offspring parasitically into aphid pests, but should the aphid get eaten by a ladybird, the growing wasp would be consumed as well. The researchers, supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), have found that to protect their offspring, adult wasps have evolved to avoid the smell of a short-lived blend of chemicals that ladybirds deposit with each footprint they make.

Seven-spot ladybird eating an aphid.
Credit: Image Rothamsted Research

Scientists at Rothamsted Research have identified how aphid parasitic wasps prevent their offspring being eaten by ladybirds. The tiny wasps implant their offspring parasitically into aphid pests, but should the aphid get eaten by a ladybird, the growing wasp would be consumed as well. The researchers, supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), have found that to protect their offspring, adult wasps have evolved to avoid the smell of a short-lived blend of chemicals that ladybirds deposit with each footprint they make. The scientists have identified the particular cocktail of chemicals.

Both wasps and ladybirds are predators of aphids but they have evolved techniques to enable them avoid each other and maximise their own success. As aphids are significant pests for gardeners and farmers the natural mechanisms that have developed help these two predators to interact efficiently to help control aphid numbers.

The scientists at Rothamsted Research, Professor Wilf Powell and Dr Mike Birkett, together with visiting Japanese scientist Dr Yoshitaka Nakashima, have identified the chemicals involved and have also shown that the smell of different ladybird species repels different parasitic wasp species to various degrees. Dr Wilf Powell explained: "We found that parasitic wasps attacking aphids living in a wooded area responded most strongly to the chemical footprints of woodland-dwelling ladybirds and similarly for those found more often in fields of crops. This suggests that these two aphid predators have evolved mutually beneficial avoidance techniques to maximise their own chances of success.

"A better understanding of the natural interactions between parasitic wasps, insect predators and their prey has the potential to help us to use them more effectively to control garden and agricultural pests and reduce the amount of pesticides we spray."

The research is being displayed to the public for the first time at an open weekend at Rothamsted Research next weekend (30 September-1 October). The Rothamsted scientists worked in collaboration with a visiting researcher from the University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Obihoro, Japan who was supported by the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science. Some aspects of the work were also supported by the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Biotechnology And Biological Sciences Research Council. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Biotechnology And Biological Sciences Research Council. "Parasitic Wasps Protect Offspring By Avoiding The Smelly Feet Of Ladybirds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 September 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060925070245.htm>.
Biotechnology And Biological Sciences Research Council. (2006, September 25). Parasitic Wasps Protect Offspring By Avoiding The Smelly Feet Of Ladybirds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060925070245.htm
Biotechnology And Biological Sciences Research Council. "Parasitic Wasps Protect Offspring By Avoiding The Smelly Feet Of Ladybirds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060925070245.htm (accessed August 28, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Super Healthful Fruits and Vegetables: Which Are Best?

Super Healthful Fruits and Vegetables: Which Are Best?

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) We all know that it is important to eat our fruits and vegetables but do you know which ones are the best for you? Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bad Memories Turn Good In Weird Mouse Brain Study

Bad Memories Turn Good In Weird Mouse Brain Study

Newsy (Aug. 27, 2014) MIT researchers were able to change whether bad memories in mice made them anxious by flicking an emotional switch in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do Couples Who Smoke Weed Together Stay Together?

Do Couples Who Smoke Weed Together Stay Together?

Newsy (Aug. 27, 2014) A study out of University at Buffalo claims couples who smoke marijuana are less likely to experience intimate partner violence. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Panda Might Have Faked Pregnancy To Get Special Treatment

Panda Might Have Faked Pregnancy To Get Special Treatment

Newsy (Aug. 27, 2014) A panda in China showed pregnancy symptoms that disappeared after two months of observation. One theory: Her pseudopregnancy was a ploy for perks. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins