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Journal Articles PLoS ONE Year : 2023

Volatile organic compounds influence prey composition in Sarracenia carnivorous plants


Sarracenia pitcher plants display interspecific differences in prey, so far only explained by pitcher morphology. We hypothesized that pitcher odours play a role in prey composition. We first compared odour and prey compositions among Sarracenia taxa grown together, forming a kinship gradient from S. purpurea known to capture primarily ants towards S. leucophylla known to capture many flying insects: S. purpurea, S. X mitchelliana, and S. X Juthatip soper & S. X leucophylla horticultural hybrids. We then measured several pitcher traits to disentangle the contributions of morphology and odour to prey variation. The pitcher odours were as diverse as those of generalist-pollinated flowers but with notable differences among taxa, reflecting their relatedness. VOC similarity analyses revealed taxon specificities, that mirrored those revealed by prey similarity analyses. S. X leucophylla stood out by being more specialised in flying insects like bees and moths and by releasing more monoterpenes known to attract flower visitors. S. X Juthatip soper trapped as many bees but fewer moths, sesquiterpenes contributing less to its scent. Ants and Diptera were the main prey of the other two with fatty-acid-derivative-dominated scents. Quantities of the different prey groups can be inferred 98% from quantities of the odour classes and pitcher dimensions. Two syndromes were revealed: ants associated with fatty-acid-derivatives and short pitchers; flying insects associated with monoterpenes, benzenoids and tall pitchers. In S. X leucophylla, emission rate of fatty-acid-derivatives and pitcher length explained most variation in ant captures; monoterpenes and pitcher length explained most variation in bee and moth captures; monoterpenes alone explained most variation in Diptera and wasp captures. Our results suggest that odours are key factors of the diet composition of pitcher plants. They support the hypothesis of perceptual exploitation of insect biases in carnivorous plants and provide new insights into the olfactory preferences of insect groups.
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hal-04075816 , version 1 (20-04-2023)





Corentin Dupont, Bruno Buatois, Jean-Marie Bessiere, Claire Villemant, Tom Hattermann, et al.. Volatile organic compounds influence prey composition in Sarracenia carnivorous plants. PLoS ONE, 2023, 18 (4), pp.e0277603. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0277603⟩. ⟨hal-04075816⟩
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