There are many insects which spend part of their lives below ground, feeding on the roots of various plants. While much is known about their above-ground lives, less is known about what they do underground. Focusing on the clover root weevil (Sitona lepidus), an insect that attacks white clover (Trifolium repens) throughout Europe and the United States, Scott Johnson, Peter Gregory (Scottish Crop Research Institute, UK), and Xioxian Zhang (University of Abertay, UK) used various techniques, including x-ray tomography, to observe the insects' plant choices. The team identified a flavanoid compound that attracted the weevils, who show a preference for N2-fixing root nodules. The talk, "What lies beneath: How do soil insects find host plant roots?" will be given by Scott Johnson during Organized Oral Session 8: Invertebrate Ecology: Butterflies and Soil Insects.
Monday 8 August 08:00 11:30 EDT, Meeting Room 518 C, Level 5, Palais des congrs de Montral
Draped in silk
If a predator left a clue behind every time it went somewhere, prey might start to catch on. Apparently some insects have noticed that spiders frequently leave tell-tale trails of silk behind. Beetles, which could be a mighty hard catch for some spiders, avoid the presence of fresh silk, according to Ann Rypstra (Miami University, Ohio, US) and Christopher Buddle (McGill University, Quebec, Canada). In their study, Rypstra and Buddle examined the effect spider and silkworm silk had on the leaf-chewing Japanese Beetles and Mexican Bean Beetles, two herbivores that feast on snap beans. The presence of silk on snap bean leaves worked as a pest deterrent of sorts, as the beetles did less damage to the silk draped plants than the ones left bare. Rypstra will present the poster, "Silk reduces plant damage caused by pest insects," during Poster Session 24: Agroecology.