[en] Animals ; Aphids/physiology ; Brassica napus/parasitology ; Brassicaceae/parasitology ; Diptera/physiology ; Female ; Glucosinolates/metabolism ; Host-Parasite Interactions ; Odors ; Oviposition/physiology ; Pest Control, Biological ; Population Density ; Sinapis/parasitology ; Species Specificity ; Vicia faba/parasitology
[en] A crucial aspect of predator oviposition behaviour is host plant choice, especially in hoverflies where the newly hatched offspring are unable to move a great distance to search for the appropriate prey. Such offspring must generally feed on the host plant aphids previously selected by the mother. Some factors involved in the selection of the oviposition site of Episyrphus balteatus De Geer include aphids associated to chemical stimuli, aphid colony size and host plant characteristics. Here we tested the hypothesis that there will not only be a rank order hierarchy of preference for aphid prey species reared on the same host plant but that a similar hierarchy of different host plant of one aphid species could be established. Therefore we compared the number of eggs laid on different combinations of host plant and aphid species. Vicia faba L., secondary metabolites free, Brassica napus L. and Sinapis alba L., containing low and high levels of glucosinolates respectively were used. The latter compounds are well known allelochemicals from Brassicaceae having a strong influence on specialist and generalist insects from both phytophagous and entomophagous levels. These experiments enhance the importance of tritrophic interactions in biological control of pests by underlining the host plant influence on aphidophagous predators, either directly or through the odours emitted by the phytophagous prey.