Pistacia palaestina Boiss. (Anacardiaceae), a sibling species of P. terebinthus also known as turpentine tree or terebinth tree, is common in the Levant region. The aphid Baizongia pistaciae L. manipulates the leaves of the plant to form large galls, which provide both food and protection for its developing offspring. We analyzed the levels and composition of mono-and sesquiterpenes in both leaves and galls of ten naturally growing trees. Our results show that monoterpene hydrocarbons are the main constituents of P. palaestina leaves and galls, but terpene levels and composition vary among trees. Despite this inter-tree variation, terpene levels and compositions in galls from different trees resemble each other more than the patterns displayed by leaves from the same trees. Generally, galls contain 10 to 60 fold higher total terpene amounts than leaves, especially of the monoterpenes α-pinene and limonene. Conversely, the leaves generally accumulate more sesquiterpenes, in particular E-caryophyllene, germacrene D and δ-cadinene, in comparison to galls. Our results clearly show that the terpene pattern in the galls is not a simple reflection of that of the leaves and suggest that aphids have a strong impact on the metabolism of their host plant, possibly for their own defense.
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Acknowledgments Constructive comments and suggestions of two anonymous reviewers are greatly appreciated. We thank Avi Koplovich for his help during sampling in the field. This research was supported by The Israel Science Foundation (grant No. 940/08 to M.I.), the US-Israel Binational Science foundation (grant No. 2012241), and Rene Karschon scholarship to K.R.
- Chemical defense
- Insect-plant relationship
- Secondary compounds
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics