In this study we assessed the dynamic changes of 2-tridecanone in a herbivorous mite (Tetranychus urticae) on tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum, cv. 'Moneymaker'), a plant with methyl ketones in the tetracellular tips of the glandular trichomes (Type VI). We showed that spider mites accumulate 2-tridecanone when foraging on cultivated tomato. Thus, the rate of mite-trichome contact multiplied by the amount of toxin per trichome tip exceeded the relative rate of toxin turnover multiplied by the amount of toxin per mite. The relative rate of toxin turnover was estimated to be 1.1 per day on cucumber, a plant without this toxin. The amount per trichome tip varied from 0.33 ng for middle-leaf trichomes to 1.26 ng for main-stem trichomes. Hence, to achieve a static level of 2-tridecanone equal to 8-17 ng per mite - representing the level we found in mites on middle leaves - the rate of mite-trichome contact should be 26-57 per day. Because methyl ketone apparently accumulates in the spider mites on tomato, the rate of mite-trichome contact is probably higher than that. We expect the accumulation of ketones to occur especially on the stems of cultivated tomato, since this is the area most densely occupied with glandular hairs and because here the hairs have higher levels of the methyl ketones. Using dose-response relationships assessed earlier (Chatzivasileiadis and Sabelis, 1997, 1998), we estimated that the number of mite-trichome contacts causing 50% mortality per day is equal to 88 on a tomato stem, whereas it equals 70 for another strain of spider mites collected from cucumber. On wild tomato, L hirsutum f. glabratum (PI 134417), just one to two contacts would suffice to cause 50% mortality per day. We suggest that methyl ketones from glandular hairs on tomato are an important mortality factor for spider mites on wild tomato and probably also on cultivated tomato.

Exp. Appl. Acarology

Chatzivasileiadis, E. A., Boon, J. J., & Sabelis, M. W. (1999). Accumulation and turnover of 2-tridecanone in Tetranychus urticae and its consequences for resistance of wild and cultivated tomatoes. Exp. Appl. Acarology, 23, 1011–1021.