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Bursztyka P.,Research Institute in Semiochemistry and Applied Ethology | Bursztyka P.,Purpan Engineering School | Lafont-Lecuelle C.,Data Management | Teruel E.,Data Management | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Molluscan Studies | Year: 2016

Chemicals are the major means of control used against slugs, which are serious pests of various crops. To increase the sustainability of farming practices, alternatives that do not harm nontarget organisms are necessary. One area of investigation focuses on the capacities of prey to perceive their predators, which enables them to display antipredator behaviours. This study presents initial evidence of the potential effectiveness of using chemical cues from a predatory ground beetle to protect young oilseed rape shoots against a worldwide pest, the slug Deroceras reticulatum (Müller, 1774) (Stylommatophora: Agriolimacidae). A two-choice assay was used to test whether chemical cues from Carabus nemoralis Müller, 1764 (Coleoptera: Carabidae) could impede the foraging of D. reticulatum on young oilseed rape shoots. Significantly fewer cotyledons were consumed when chemical cues from the ground beetle were present compared with the control area, where slugs were mainly found. Chemical cues from predatory ground beetles appear to be a promising solution for protecting at-risk crops from the depredations of pest slugs. © 2016 The Author. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Malacological Society of London, all rights reserved.

Bursztyka P.,Research Institute in Semiochemistry and Applied Ethology | Bursztyka P.,Purpan Engineering School | Saffray D.,Research Institute in Semiochemistry and Applied Ethology | Lafont-Lecuelle C.,Research Institute in Semiochemistry and Applied Ethology | And 2 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Evidence that terrestrial gastropods are able to detect chemical cues from their predators is obvious yet scarce, despite the scientific relevance of the topic to enhancing our knowledge in this area. This study examines the influence of cuticular extracts from predacious ground beetles (Carabus auratus, Carabus hispanus, Carabus nemoralis and Carabus coriaceus), and a neutral insect species (Musca domestica) on the shelter-seeking behavior of naive slugs (Deroceras reticulatum). Slugs, known to have a negative phototactic response, were exposed to light, prompting them to make a choice between either a shelter treated with a cuticular extract or a control shelter treated with pure ethyl alcohol. Their behavioral responses were recorded for one hour in order to determine their first shelter choice, their final position, and to compare the percentage of time spent in the control shelters with the time spent in the treated shelters.The test proved to be very effective: slugs spent most of the experiment in a shelter. They spent significantly more time in the control shelter than in the shelter treated with either C. nemoralis (Z = 2.43; p = 0.0151; Wilcoxon matched-pairs signed-ranks test) or C. coriaceus cuticular extracts (Z = 3.31; p<0.01; Wilcoxon matched-pairs signed-ranks test), with a seemingly stronger avoidance effect when presented with C. coriaceus extracts. The other cuticular extracts had no significant effect on any of the behavioral items measured. Although it cannot be entirely excluded that the differences observed, are partly due to the intrinsic properties of the vehicle employed to build the cuticular extracts, the results suggest that slugs can innately discriminate amongst different potential predators and adjust their behavioral response according to the relevance of the threat conveyed by their predator's chemical cues. © 2013 Bursztyka et al.

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