Inbreeding in horsenettle (solanum carolinense) alters night-time volatile emissions that guide oviposition by manduca sexta moths

Rupesh R. Kariyat, Kerry E. Mauck, Christopher M. Balogh, Andrew G. Stephenson, Mark C. Mescher, Consuelo M. De Moraes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Plant volatiles serve as key foraging and oviposition cues for insect herbivores as well as their natural enemies, but little is known about how genetic variation within plant populations influences volatile-mediated interactions among plants and insects. Here, we explore how inbred and outbred plants from three maternal families of the native weed horsenettle (Solanum carolinense) vary in the emission of volatile organic compounds during the dark phase of the photoperiod, and the effects of this variation on the oviposition preferences of Manduca sexta moths, whose larvae are specialist herbivores of Solanaceae. Compared with inbred plants, outbred plants consistently released more total volatiles at night and more individual compounds-including some previously reported to repel moths and attract predators. Female moths overwhelmingly chose to lay eggs on inbred (versus outbred) plants, and this preference persisted when olfactory cues were presented in the absence of visual and contact cues. These results are consistent with our previous findings that inbred plants recruit more herbivores and suffer greater herbivory under field conditions. Furthermore, they suggest that constitutive volatiles released during the dark portion of the photoperiod can convey accurate information about plant defence status (and/or other aspects of host plant quality) to foraging herbivores.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20130020
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1757
StatePublished - 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Environmental Science
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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