Volatile interactions between unattacked plants can lead to changes in their volatile emissions. Exposure of potato plants to onion plant volatiles results in increased emission of 2 terpenoids, (E)-nerolidol and TMTT. We investigated whether this is detectable by the ladybird Coccinella septempunctata. The odor of onion-exposed potato was significantly more attractive to ladybirds than that of unexposed potato. Further, a synthetic blend mimicking the volatile profile of onion-exposed potato was more attractive than a blend mimicking that of unexposed potato. When presented individually, TMTT was attractive to ladybirds whereas (E)-nerolidol was repellent. Volatile exchange between unattacked plants and consequent increased attractiveness for ladybirds may be a mechanism that contributes to the increased abundance of natural enemies in complex plant habitats.
Keywords: (E)-nerolidol; Coccinella septempunctata; TMTT; aphids; ladybird; natural enemies; onion; plant–plant communication; potato; volatiles.