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Data from: Predator performance and fitness Is dictated by herbivore prey type plus indirect effects of their host plant

Citation

Ugine, Todd et al. (2021), Data from: Predator performance and fitness Is dictated by herbivore prey type plus indirect effects of their host plant, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.hdr7sqvh6

Abstract

Animals, including herbivores and predators, use diet-mixing to balance their macro- and micronutrient intake. Recent work demonstrated that lady beetles fed only pea aphids from fava beans had reduced fitness caused by a deficiency of dietary sterols. However, beetles redressed this deficit by eating fava bean leaves. In the current study we used Coccinella septempunctata as a model to test the hypotheses that pea aphids are a poor sterol resource independent of their host plant, and that fava beans produce low quality prey regardless of aphid species. Additionally, we tested the reproductive rescue capacity of alfalfa and barley foliage compared to fava, and profiled the sterols of phloem exudates, foliage, and aphids reared on these different hosts. Beetle fecundity and egg viability was significantly better when provided pea aphids reared on alfalfa (compared to fava beans) and green peach aphids reared on fava plants. Alfalfa and barley leaves were not consumed by beetles and did not support beetle reproduction. The sterol profile of aphids largely reflected their host plant phloem. However, green peach aphids from fava acquired 125-times more sterol than pea aphids from fava. Our findings show how the sterol content of different host-plants can affect the third trophic level. Our results suggest that 1) prey quality varies depending on prey species, even when they occur on the same plant, 2) plant species can mediate prey quality, 3) host plant-mediated effects on prey quality partially drive omnivory, and 4) diet-mixing benefits growth and reproduction by redressing micronutrient deficits.

Funding

NSF-DRL, Award: 1114525

USDA-NIFA-AFRI, Award: 67013-24762