Host-adaptability in Tetranychus urticae


Abstract: Plants have evolved complex defenses to deter feeding by phytophagous herbivores
including physical barriers that prevent herbivore accessibility, chemical defenses that reduce
host palatability, and toxins that negatively impact pest growth, development and digestion. To overcome these challenges, herbivores have developed counter adaptations including
attenuation of plant defense responses, xenobiotic sequestration, phytotoxin target-site
mutations and phytotoxin detoxification. The two spotted spider mite (TSSM; Tetranychus
urticae Koch) is a global agricultural pest with a polyphagous diet extending over 1100 plant
species. The TSSM is a composite generalist herbivore comprised of individual host-adapted
populations that can feed on a subset of plant hosts. How mites adapt to initially unfavorable
plant host is not known. Here, we will summarize our studies of mite adaptation to plant hosts.

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