1. Plant resistance against herbivores can act directly (e.g. by producing toxins) and indirectly (e.g. by attracting natural enemies of herbivores). If plant secondary metabolites that cause direct resistance against herbivores, such as glucosinolates, negatively influence natural enemies, this may result in a conflict between direct and indirect plant resistance. 2. Our objectives were (i) to test herbivore-mediated effects of glucosinolates on the performance of two generalist predators, the marmalade hoverfly (Episyrphus balteatus) and the common green lacewing (Chrysoperla carnea) and (ii) to test whether intraspecific plant variation affects predator performance. 3. Predators were fed either Brevicoryne brassicae, a glucosinolate-sequestering specialist aphid that contains aphid-specific myrosinases, or Myzus persicae, a nonsequestering generalist aphid that excretes glucosinolates in the honeydew, reared on four different white cabbage cultivars. Predator performance and glucosinolate concentrations and profiles in B. brassicae and host-plant phloem were measured, a novel approach as previous studies often measured glucosinolate concentrations only in total leaf material. 4. Interestingly, the specialist aphid B. brassicae selectively sequestered glucosinolates from its host plant. The performance of predators fed this aphid species was lower than when fed M. persicae. When fed B. brassicae reared on different cultivars, differences in predator performance matched differences in glucosinolate profiles among the aphids. 5. We show that not only the prey species, but also the plant cultivar can have an effect on the performance of predators. Our results suggest that in the tritrophic system tested, there might be a conflict between direct and indirect plant resistance.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEcological Entomology
Journal publication date2011

ID: 287675