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Changes in life history traits and transcriptional regulation of Coccinellini ladybirds in using alternative prey.


ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Ladybird beetles (Coleoptera, Coccinellidae) are highly diverse in their feeding habits. Most of them are specialist feeders, while some can have a broad spectrum of prey. As a representative group of generalists, the tribe Coccinellini includes many aphidophagous species, but members of this tribe also feed on other hemipterous insects including coccids, psyllids and whiteflies. As a result, several species are effective biological control agents or invasive species with serious non-target effects. Despite their economic importance, relatively little is known about how they adapt to new prey. RESULTS:In this study, comparisons of the life history traits and transcriptomes of ladybirds fed initial (aphids) and alternative prey (mealybugs) were performed in three Coccinellini species. The use of alternative prey greatly decreased performance, implied by the significantly prolonged development time and decreased survival rate and adult weight. Prey shifts resulted in a set of differentially expressed genes encoding chemosensory proteins and digestive and detoxifying enzymes. CONCLUSIONS:Our results suggest that these generalists do not perform well when they use alternative prey as the sole nutrition source. Although their capacity for predation might have created an opportunity to use varied prey, they must adapt to physiological obstacles including chemosensing, digestion and detoxification in response to a prey shift. These findings challenge the effect of Coccinellini predators on the biological control of non-aphid pests and suggest the possibility of non-target attacks by so-called specialists.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6958754 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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