Differences in allelochemistry of plants may influence their ability to attract parasitoids.We studied responses of Diadegma semiclausum (Hellén), a parasitoid of the diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella L.), to inter- and intraspecific variation in odor blends of crucifers and a non-crucifer species. Uninfested Brussels sprout (Brassica oleracea L. gemmifera), white mustard (Sinapis alba L.), a feral Brassica oleracea, and malting barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) were compared for their attractivity to D. semiclausum in a Y-tube bioassay. Odors from all plants were more attractive to the parasitoid than clean air. However, tested against each other, parasitoids preferred the volatile blend from the three cruciferous species over that of malting barley.Wasps also discriminated between uninfested crucifers: mustard was as attractive as feral B. oleracea, and both were more attractive than Brussels sprout. Attractivity of uninfested plants was compared with that of plants infested by larvae of the host P. xylostella. Host-infested mustard and Brussels sprout were more attractive than uninfested conspecifics. Interestingly, the volatile blends of uninfested white mustard and infested Brussels sprout were equally attractive.We also compared the volatile composition of different plant sources by collecting headspace samples and analysing them with GC-MS. Similarities of volatile profiles were determined by hierarchic clustering and non-metric scaling based on the Horn-index. Due to the absence of several compounds in its blend, the volatile profile of barley showed dissimilarities from blends of crucifers. The odor profile of white mustard was distinctly different from the two Brassicaceae.Feral Brassica oleracea odor profile was different from infested Brussels sprout, but showed overlap with uninfested Brussels sprout. Odor blends from infested and uninfested Brussels sprout were similar, and mainly quantitative differences were found. D. semiclausum appears to discriminate based on subtle differences in volatile composition of odor blends from infested and uninfested plants. [KEYWORDS: Diadegma semiclausum ; Plutella xylostella ; Hordeum vulgare ; Sinapis alba ; Brassica oleracea ; olfactometer ; headspace volatiles ; GC-MS]
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Chemical Ecology
Journal publication date2005

ID: 374781