Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Parasitic wasps protect offspring by avoiding the smelly feet of ladybirds

Scientists at Rothamsted Research have identified how aphid parasitic wasps prevent their offspring being eaten by ladybirds. The tiny wasps implant their offspring parasitically into aphid pests, but should the aphid get eaten by a ladybird, the growing wasp would be consumed as well.

The researchers, supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), have found that to protect their offspring, adult wasps have evolved to avoid the smell of a short-lived blend of chemicals that ladybirds deposit with each footprint they make. The scientists have identified the particular cocktail of chemicals.

Both wasps and ladybirds are predators of aphids but they have evolved techniques to enable them avoid each other and maximise their own success. As aphids are significant pests for gardeners and farmers the natural mechanisms that have developed help these two predators to interact efficiently to help control aphid numbers.

The scientists at Rothamsted Research, Professor Wilf Powell and Dr Mike Birkett, together with visiting Japanese scientist Dr Yoshitaka Nakashima, have identified the chemicals involved and have also shown that the smell of different ladybird species repels different parasitic wasp species to various degrees. Dr Wilf Powell explained: ”We found that parasitic wasps attacking aphids living in a wooded area responded most strongly to the chemical footprints of woodland-dwelling ladybirds and similarly for those found more often in fields of crops. This suggests that these two aphid predators have evolved mutually beneficial avoidance techniques to maximise their own chances of success.

... more about:
»Ladybird »Rothamsted »aphid »offspring »parasitic

“A better understanding of the natural interactions between parasitic wasps, insect predators and their prey has the potential to help us to use them more effectively to control garden and agricultural pests and reduce the amount of pesticides we spray.”

The research is being displayed to the public for the first time at an open weekend at Rothamsted Research next weekend (30 September-1 October). The Rothamsted scientists worked in collaboration with a visiting researcher from the University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Obihoro, Japan who was supported by the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science. Some aspects of the work were also supported by the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Matt Goode | alfa
Further information:

Further reports about: Ladybird Rothamsted aphid offspring parasitic

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'
16.03.2018 | Emory Health Sciences

nachricht Scientists map the portal to the cell's nucleus
16.03.2018 | Rockefeller University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>