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Insect herbivores exhibit various strategies to counter the toxic effects of plant chemical defenses. These strategies include the detoxification, excretion, and sequestration of plant secondary metabolites. The latter strategy is often considered to provide an additional benefit in that it provides herbivores with protection against natural enemies such as predators. Profiles of sequestered chemicals are influenced by the food plants from which these chemicals are derived. We compared the effects of sequestration and nonsequestration of plant secondary metabolites in two specialist herbivores on the development of a generalist predator, Podisus maculiventris. Profiles of glucosinolates, secondary metabolites characteristic for the Brassicaceae, are known to differ considerably both inter- and intraspecifically. Throughout their immature (=nymphal) development, the predator was fed on larval stages of either sequestering (turnip sawfly, Athalia rosae) or nonsequestering (small cabbage white butterfly, Pieris rapae) prey that in turn had been feeding on plants originating from three wild cabbage (Brassica oleracea) populations that have previously been shown to differ in their glucosinolate profiles. We compared survival, development time, and adult body mass as parameters for bug performance. Our results show that sequestration of glucosinolates by A. rosae only marginally affected the development of P. maculiventris. The effects of plant population on predator performance were variable. We suggest that sequestration of glucosinolates by A. rosae functions not only as a defensive mechanism against some predators, but may also be an alternative way of harmlessly dealing with plant allelochemicals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)707-714
JournalNaturwissenschaften
Volume101
Issue number9
DOI
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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