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Title

Baculovirus-induced climbing behavior favors intraspecific necrophagy and efficient disease transmission in Spodoptera exigua

AuthorsRebolledo, Dulce; Lasa, Rodrigo; Guevara, Roger; Murillo, Rosa ; Williams, Trevor G.
Issue Date24-Sep-2015
PublisherPublic Library of Science
CitationPLoS ONE 10(9): e0136742 (2015)
AbstractShortly prior to death, many species of Lepidoptera infected with nucleopolyhedrovirus climb upwards on the host plant. This results in improved dissemination of viral occlusion bodies over plant foliage and an increased probability of transmission to healthy conspecific larvae. Following applications of Spodoptera exigua multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus for control of Spodoptera exigua on greenhouse-grown sweet pepper crops, necrophagy was observed by healthy S. exigua larvae that fed on virus-killed conspecifics. We examined whether this risky behavior was induced by olfactory or phagostimulant compounds associated with infected cadavers. Laboratory choice tests and olfactometer studies, involving infected and non-infected cadavers placed on spinach leaf discs, revealed no evidence for greater attraction of healthy larvae to virus-killed over non-infected cadavers. Physical contact or feeding on infected cadavers resulted in a very high incidence of transmission (82- 93% lethal disease). Observations on the behavior of S. exigua larvae on pepper plants revealed that infected insects died on the uppermost 10% of foliage and closer to the plant stem than healthy conspecifics of the same stage, which we considered clear evidence of baculovirus-induced climbing behavior. Healthy larvae that subsequently foraged on the plant were more frequently observed closer to the infected than the non-infected cadaver. Healthy larvae also encountered and fed on infected cadavers significantly more frequently and more rapidly than larvae that fed on non-infected cadavers. Intraspecific necrophagy on infected cadavers invariably resulted in virus transmission and death of the necrophagous insect. We conclude that, in addition to improving the dissemination of virus particles over plant foliage, baculovirus-induced climbing behavior increases the incidence of intraspecific necrophagy in S. exigua, which is the most efficient mechanism of transmission of this lethal pathogen.
Publisher version (URL)http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0136742
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/141191
DOI10.1371/journal.pone.0136742
Identifiersissn: 1932-6203
Appears in Collections:(IDAB) Artículos
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