Improvement of Bemisia tabaci (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) Fitness on Chinese Kale upon Simultaneous Herbivory by Plutella xylostella (Lepidoptera: Plutellidae)
Jun Jiang, Li-Li Xu, Wen-Yuan Yu, Shi-Ze Zhang and Tong-Xian Liu
Simple Summary Different herbivores feeding on the same plant can interact through plant-mediated effects. Cotton whitefly and diamondback moth are two of the most destructive pests in the world, and they often occur together in cruciferous plants. However, how the performance and fitness of them are affected when co-occurring in the same host plant remains unclear. The present study demonstrates that cotton whitefly has become a dominant competitor by gaining increased fitness benefits when it is mixed with DBM on the same host plant irrespective of sequences of their arrival, which may be one of the reasons for the rapid expansion and outbreak of the whitefly population worldwide. Bemisia tabaci and the diamondback moth (DBM), Plutella xylostella, are two major cosmopolitan pests that often occur together and cause severe economic losses to cruciferous crops. However, little is known about how they interact with each other. To determine the effects of defense responses induced by the two pests on the biology and population dynamics of the herbivores, we studied the performance and fitness of B. tabaci and DBM when they damaged Chinese kale simultaneously and in different orders. The results showed that DBM pre-infestation shortened the developmental duration, increased longevity, oviposition days, and fecundity of B. tabaci. Meanwhile, the intrinsic rate of increase (r), net reproductive rate (R-0) and finite rate of increase (lambda) of B. tabaci increased significantly with dual infection as compared with only B. tabaci infestation. In contrast, B. tabaci pre-infestation reduced the longevity and oviposition days of DBM, but the population parameters r, R-0, and lambda did not vary significantly compared with only DBM infestation. Thus, co-infestation of B. tabaci and DBM was beneficial to the performance of the B. tabaci population. The present findings highlight that B. tabaci has become a dominant competitor when mixing with DBM on the same host plant.