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Leaf trichomes and foliar chemistry mediate defence against glasshouse thrips; Heliothrips haemorrhoidalis (Bouché) in Rhododendron simsii

Leaf trichomes and foliar chemistry mediate defence against glasshouse thrips; Heliothrips haemorrhoidalis (Bouché) in Rhododendron simsii

Scott-Brown, Alison S., Gregory, Tom, Farrell, Iain W. and Stevenson, Philip C. ORCID: 0000-0002-0736-3619 (2016) Leaf trichomes and foliar chemistry mediate defence against glasshouse thrips; Heliothrips haemorrhoidalis (Bouché) in Rhododendron simsii. Functional Plant Biology, 43 (12). pp. 1170-1182. ISSN 1445-4408 (Print), 1445-4416 (Online) (doi:10.1071/FP16045)

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Abstract

Herbivore defence mechanisms are a costly diversion of resources away from growth and reproduction. Thus time-limited and tissue specific expression in critical plant parts is more efficient as defined by optimal defence theory. Surprisingly little is known about Rhododendron herbivore defence but it may be mediated by combined chemical and physical mechanisms. Rhododendron simsii Planch. survives cyclic infestations of a leaf-feeding thrips, Heliothrips haemorrhoidalis, which severely damage mature leaves but avoid terminal young leaves suggesting specific, localised defence expression. We examined correlations between the distribution of thrips and feeding damage with density of trichomes and the concentration of the diterpenoid, grayanotoxin I, a compound implicated in but not previously reported to meditate invertebrate defence in Rhododendron. Our data show that as leaves matured the number of thrips and area of feeding damage increased as trichome density and grayanotoxin I concentration decreased, this inverse correlation 10 suggesting trichomes and grayanotoxin I mediate defence in younger leaf tissue. Grayanotoxin I was tested against H. haemorrhoidalis and was toxic to immature life stages and repellent to the adult thrips, reducing numbers of first instars emerging on leaves when applied at ecologically relevant concentrations. This work demonstrates that the pattern of defensive traits in foliage of a species of Rhododendron is key to its ability to tolerate cyclic infestations of a generalist herbivore, effectively conserving vital tissues required for growth and reproduction.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Defense; Grayanoid diterpene; Leaf hairs; Plant tolerance; Secondary plant compounds
Subjects: S Agriculture > SB Plant culture
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Agriculture, Health & Environment Department
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2017 13:47
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/16126

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