The cabbage root fly, Delia radicum L. (Diptera: Anthomyiidae), has a life cycle with spatially separated components: adults live and oviposit above ground, whereas larvae feed and pupate below ground. Oviposition choice is affected by shoot glucosinolates. However, little is known about below-ground plant defence against D. radicum. Here, we investigate the effect of glucosinolates on oviposition preference and performance of D. radicum, using two naturally occurring heritable chemotypes of Barbarea vulgaris R. Br. (Brassicaceae) with different glucosinolate profiles: BAR-type plants (the most common and genetically dominant glucosinolate profile, dominated by glucobarbarin) and NAS-type plants (the recessive phenotype, dominated by gluconasturtiin). Performance was studied by applying 10 neonate D. radicum larvae per plant and measuring pupal biomass after 18 days. There was no difference in retrieval, but pupae had a higher biomass after development on BAR-type plants. On average, BAR-type plants received 1.8 times more eggs than NAS types, but this difference was not statistically significant. In a separate experiment, we compared the physiological response of both chemotypes to D. radicum feeding. Infestation reduced root and shoot biomass, root sugar and amino acid levels, and shoot sugar levels. Except for shoot sugar levels, these responses did not differ between the two chemotypes. Shoot or root glucosinolate profiles did not change on infestation. As glucosinolate profiles were the only consistent difference between the chemotypes, it is likely that this difference caused the reduced biomass of D. radicum pupae on NAS-type plants. In an experimental garden, plants were heavily infested by root flies, but we found no differences in the percentage of fallen-over flower stalks between the chemotypes. Overall, we found more pupae in the soil near BAR-type plants, but this was not statistically significant. The results of the performance experiment suggest that BAR-type plants may be more suitable hosts than NAS-type plants.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEntomologia Experimentalis et Applicata
Journal publication date2008

ID: 57200