Wednesday, 20 November 2002 - 3:48 PM

This presentation is part of : Ten-Minute Papers, Subsection Ce. Insect Pathology and Microbial Control

Tri-trophic interactions: can an insect virus adapt to different host plants?

Jennifer S. Cory, NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Molecular Ecology and Biocontrol Section, Mansfield Road, Oxford, United Kingdom and Judith Myers, University of British Columbia, Department of Zoology and Agricultural Sciences, Centre for Biodiversity Research, 6270 University Blvd, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Host plants can influence the virulence of insect pathogens such as baculoviruses, and these in turn are genotypically and phenotypically variable. Baculovirus infections are usually transmitted horizontally, with susceptible larvae acquiring infection by feeding on contaminated foliage. Therefore there is ample opportunity for coevolution to occur between insects, host plants and diseases. Malacosoma californicum pluviale is found in disjunct populations on the mainland and on islands off southwestern British Columbia. The dominant host plant in some of these population differs. Here we have investigated the interaction between the host, M. c. pluviale, three isolates of baculovirus and three host plants, alder, rose and apple. While the mortality inflicted by the isolates was not affected by host plant, we found evidence that other parameters, namely speed of kill and virus productivity, were differentially affected by host plant and the virus isolate.

Species 1: Lepidoptera Lasiocampidae Malacosoma pluviale (Tent caterpillar)
Keywords: tritrophic interactions, coevolution

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