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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: MASS PRODUCTION OF BIOLOGICAL CONTROL AGENTS

Location: Biological Control of Pests Research Unit

Title: Are plant trichomes harmful to predatory insects and mites?

Authors
item Riddick, Eric
item Simmons, Alvin

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: November 1, 2013
Publication Date: November 1, 2013
Citation: Riddick, E.W., Simmons, A.M. 2013. Are plant trichomes harmful to predatory insects and mites?. Meeting Abstract. 6:135.

Technical Abstract: Plants may use epidermal hairs (trichomes) to defend themselves from attack by herbivores. Predatory arthropods may serve as biocontrol agents against herbivores. Whether or not plant trichomes work in concert with predators is undocumented in many cases. We reviewed the peer-reviewed literature to determine if trichome-bearing plants have neutral, harmful or beneficial effects on predatory insects and mites. We used database resources at the USDA, National Agricultural Library to conduct this review of the literature. We found more than 60 published records that dealt with interactions between plant trichomes and predators. The evidence indicates that plant trichomes have more harmful than beneficial effects on the life history of many predators. Most harmful effects involve negative alterations to development, oviposition, foraging and predation potential. In worst cases, predators are trapped in glandular exudates or on hooked tips of non-glandular trichomes. Entrapped predators eventually die from desiccation or starvation. Plants with high trichome density (with or without associated glands) appear to cause the most harm to predators foraging for prey. When developing and testing cultivars with increased trichome-based resistance to herbivory, we should determine if these technologies are compatible with predators.

Last Modified: 12/19/2014
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