Jasmonic acid (JA) is a key hormone involved in plant defense responses. The effect of JA treatment of cabbage plants on their acceptability for oviposition by two species of cabbage white butterflies, Pieris rapae and P. brassicae, was investigated. Both butterfly species laid fewer eggs on leaves of JA-treated plants compared to control plants. We show that this is due to processes in the plant after JA treatment rather than an effect of JA itself. The oviposition preference for control plants is adaptive, as development time from larval hatch until pupation of P. rapae caterpillars was longer on JA-treated plants. Total glucosinolate content in leaf surface extracts was similar for control and treated plants; however, two of the five glucosinolates were present in lower amounts in leaf surface extracts of JA-treated plants. When the butterflies were offered a choice between the purified glucosinolate fraction isolated from leaf surface extracts of JA-treated plants and that from control plants, they did not discriminate. Changes in leaf surface glucosinolate profile, therefore, do not seem to explain the change in oviposition preference of the butterflies after JA treatment, suggesting that as yet unknown infochemicals are involved.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Chemical Ecology
Journal publication date2007

ID: 228435