Cabbage and turnip root flies on resistant and susceptible Brassicas : host selection and chemical interactions
Hopkins, Richard James
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During post-alighting behaviour gravid female turnip root fly, D.jloralis, select a plant for oviposition predominantly during the initial landing phase; the cabbage root fly, D.radicum, also utilise the leaf resting phase. The post-alighting behaviour exhibited by D.radicum and D.floralis infers that oviposition site selection is primarily based upon positive stimuli present on the leaf surface. Ranking of four genotypes of plants for antixenotic resistance to oviposition by D.radicum and D.jloralis was found to be the same for both fly species, tested in the laboratory (swede cv Doon Major, most susceptible; kale cv Fribor, most resistant) and varied x80 (D.floralis) and x5 (D.radicum). Field experiments showed that oviposition (which was dominated by D.radicum) varied x2 between plant genotypes (swede cv Doon Major, most susceptible; swede cv GRL aga, most resistant). Testing of Brassica leaf surface extracts, applied to surrogate plants, indicated that leaf surface chemicals strongly influence the site of oviposition of D.floralis. Methanol soluble polar compounds are the most stimulatory element for D.floralis and a fraction which contained aliphatic glucosinolates stimulated oviposition strongly although glucosinolates were not the primary oviposition stimulant. Collaborative experiments indicate that "CIF" (cabbage identification factor) is probably present in this fraction. The concentrations of Brassica root sugars are generally reduced by the damage of both D.radicum and D.floralis and appear to influence larval development. The percentages of plant fibre and lignin in the roots of Brassicas rise following the damage of D.floralis. The concentrations of individual glucosinolates in Brassica roots arc radically altered by the damage of D.floralis and D.radicum. D.floralis damage resulted in a rise in the concentration of aromatic glucosinolates and a fall in the concentration of aliphatic glucosinolates. D.radicum damage generally resulted in an elevated concentration of both aliphatic and aromatic glucosinolates. There was no clear evidence that glucosinolatc profiles were associated with different levels of antibiotic resistance to D.radicum and D.floralis. GRL aga (SCRI breeding line) was consistently resistant to the oviposition and larval feeding of D.radicum and D.floralis both in the laboratory and in the field. It was shown that the use of end-of-season chemical analysis to assess the influence of plant chemistry on insect development or host plant resistance in field experiments and the use of damage indexes based on the percentage of a plant root damaged by D.radicum may be flawed.