Leaf Color Used by Cabbage Root Flies to Distinguish Among Host Plants

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Science  08 Jul 1983:
Vol. 221, Issue 4606, pp. 190-192
DOI: 10.1126/science.221.4606.190


In experiments in which spectrophotometric reflectance patterns of real leaves were mimicked with mixtures of artists' pigments, leaf color was shown to be a character used by cabbage root flies, before landing on leaves, to discriminate among the host plant cultivars radish, green cabbage, and red cabbage. It may be possible to take advantage of factors that affect leaf color, such as epicuticular bloom, pubescence, and masking of chlorophyll by other pigments, to decrease the attraction of certain pest insects to plants.