Ant-like Traits in Wingless Parasitoids Repel Attack from Wolf Spiders

Jeffrey A. Harvey, Bertanne Visser, Marl Lammers, Janine Marien, Jonathan Gershenzon, Paul J. Ode, Robin Heinen, Rieta Gols, Jacintha Ellers

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

A recent study showed that a wingless parasitoid, Gelis agilis, exhibits a suite of ant-like traits that repels attack from wolf spiders. When agitated, G. agilis secreted 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one (sulcatone), which a small number of ant species produce as an alarm/panic pheromone. Here, we tested four Gelis parasitoid species, occurring in the same food chain and microhabitats, for the presence of sulcatone and conducted two-species choice bioassays with wolf spiders to determine their degree of susceptibility to attack. All four Gelis species, including both winged and wingless species, produced sulcatone, whereas a closely related species, Acrolyta nens, and the more distantly related Cotesia glomerata, did not. In two-choice bioassays, spiders overwhelmingly rejected the wingless Gelis species, preferring A. nens and C. glomerata. However, spiders exhibited no preference for either A. nens or G. areator, both of which are winged. Wingless gelines exhibited several ant-like traits, perhaps accounting for the reluctance of spiders to attack them. On the other hand, despite producing sulcatone, the winged G. areator more closely resembles other winged cryptines like A. nens, making it harder for spiders to distinguish between these two species. C. glomerata was also preferred by spiders over A. nens, suggesting that other non-sulcatone producing cryptines nevertheless possess traits that make them less attractive as prey. Phylogenetic reconstruction of the Cryptinae reveals that G. hortensis and G. proximus are ‘sister’species, with G. agilis, and G.areator in particular evolving along more distant trajectories. We discuss the possibility that wingless Gelis species have evolved a suite of ant-like traits as a form, of mimicry to repel predators on the ground.

LanguageEnglish
Pages894-904
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Chemical Ecology
Volume44
Issue number10
Early online date31 Jul 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018

Fingerprint

Lycosidae
Spiders
Ants
spider
parasitoids
ant
Araneae
Cotesia glomerata
Formicidae
Bioassay
bioassays
Biological Assay
Pheromones
parasitoid
food chain
pheromones
microhabitats
trajectories
Panic
bioassay

Keywords

  • Batesian mimicry; Müllerian mimicry
  • Chemical defense
  • Formica
  • Gelis
  • Hymenoptera
  • Lasius
  • Predation

Cite this

Harvey, Jeffrey A. ; Visser, Bertanne ; Lammers, Marl ; Marien, Janine ; Gershenzon, Jonathan ; Ode, Paul J. ; Heinen, Robin ; Gols, Rieta ; Ellers, Jacintha. / Ant-like Traits in Wingless Parasitoids Repel Attack from Wolf Spiders. In: Journal of Chemical Ecology. 2018 ; Vol. 44, No. 10. pp. 894-904.
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abstract = "A recent study showed that a wingless parasitoid, Gelis agilis, exhibits a suite of ant-like traits that repels attack from wolf spiders. When agitated, G. agilis secreted 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one (sulcatone), which a small number of ant species produce as an alarm/panic pheromone. Here, we tested four Gelis parasitoid species, occurring in the same food chain and microhabitats, for the presence of sulcatone and conducted two-species choice bioassays with wolf spiders to determine their degree of susceptibility to attack. All four Gelis species, including both winged and wingless species, produced sulcatone, whereas a closely related species, Acrolyta nens, and the more distantly related Cotesia glomerata, did not. In two-choice bioassays, spiders overwhelmingly rejected the wingless Gelis species, preferring A. nens and C. glomerata. However, spiders exhibited no preference for either A. nens or G. areator, both of which are winged. Wingless gelines exhibited several ant-like traits, perhaps accounting for the reluctance of spiders to attack them. On the other hand, despite producing sulcatone, the winged G. areator more closely resembles other winged cryptines like A. nens, making it harder for spiders to distinguish between these two species. C. glomerata was also preferred by spiders over A. nens, suggesting that other non-sulcatone producing cryptines nevertheless possess traits that make them less attractive as prey. Phylogenetic reconstruction of the Cryptinae reveals that G. hortensis and G. proximus are ‘sister’species, with G. agilis, and G.areator in particular evolving along more distant trajectories. We discuss the possibility that wingless Gelis species have evolved a suite of ant-like traits as a form, of mimicry to repel predators on the ground.",
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Harvey, JA, Visser, B, Lammers, M, Marien, J, Gershenzon, J, Ode, PJ, Heinen, R, Gols, R & Ellers, J 2018, 'Ant-like Traits in Wingless Parasitoids Repel Attack from Wolf Spiders', Journal of Chemical Ecology, vol. 44, no. 10, pp. 894-904. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10886-018-0989-2

Ant-like Traits in Wingless Parasitoids Repel Attack from Wolf Spiders. / Harvey, Jeffrey A.; Visser, Bertanne; Lammers, Marl; Marien, Janine; Gershenzon, Jonathan; Ode, Paul J.; Heinen, Robin; Gols, Rieta; Ellers, Jacintha.

In: Journal of Chemical Ecology, Vol. 44, No. 10, 10.2018, p. 894-904.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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AU - Harvey, Jeffrey A.

AU - Visser, Bertanne

AU - Lammers, Marl

AU - Marien, Janine

AU - Gershenzon, Jonathan

AU - Ode, Paul J.

AU - Heinen, Robin

AU - Gols, Rieta

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