Mechanoecology and Chemoecology: Physical and Chemical Interactions between Insects and Plants

Plants and herbivorous insects, as well as their natural enemies such as predatory and parasitoid insects, are united by intricate relationships. During the long period of co-evolution with insects, plants developed a wide diversity of chemical and mechanical features for defense against herbivores, and attracting pollinators and natural herbivore enemies. The chemical basis of insect–plant interactions has been established, and in many examples the feeding and oviposition site selection of phytophagous insects are dependent on plant secondary metabolites. Volatile organic compound (VOC) emission by plants, influenced by insect feeding or oviposition, can repel herbivores and attract natural enemies. In this context, phytophagous and entomophagous insects evolved a finely tuned sensory system for the detection of plant cues.

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