Predator non-consumptive effects (NCEs) have been well studied in many ecosystems and NCEs can alter the behavior, morphology and life history of prey, producing strong trait-mediated indirect effects (TMIEs) on host plants. However, studies involving the application of NCEs to control pests in the field, and instances of combined laboratory bioassay and field practice are rare. Here, we examine the development, reproduction and behavior of small brown planthoppers, Laodelphax striatellus (Fallén), when exposed to predator cues from caged predators (Paederus fuscipes Curtis), or predator body extracts (in solvents with different polarities) in the laboratory. Field foliage sprays of these extracts were also used to test their effects on the L. striatellus population and rice plant biomass. Nymph development and egg hatch rate in L. striatellus were not influenced, but adult longevity was shorter, and fecundity and weight gain were lower, when nymphs were exposed to the predator cues. Adults exposed to predator cues also gained less weight and laid fewer eggs. The poorer developmental and reproductive performances might result from lower activity levels observed in threatened L. striatellus. The field foliage sprays of predator cues decreased L. striatellus abundance and increased rice plant biomass, suggesting their possible application for pest control. Predator cues extracted using chloroform increased stronger NCEs and TMIEs, indicating their non-polar characteristics. Our studies advance the understanding of how NCEs shape the life history and behavior of L. striatellus and improve rice growth, laying new foundations for future research on novel pest control materials and methods.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Agronomy and Crop Science
- Insect Science