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Glucosinolates are known to elicit responses from Brassica herbivores in laboratory studies. To study their importance in interactions with herbivores in the field, glucosinolate profiles and levels of herbivory were ascertained for wild cabbage plants growing in four neighboring populations in the UK. Glucosinolate profiles differed between plant populations, but not between different habitats within populations. Within habitats, there was no link between individual plant glucosinolate profiles and herbivory by Pieris spp., slugs and snails, flea beetles or aphids. Plants attacked by the micromoth. Selania leplastriana, contained higher levels of 2-hydroxy-3-butenylglucosinolate and 3-indolylmethylglucosinolate than plants within the same population that were not attacked. It is concluded that the differences in glucosinolate profiles between the plant populations are unlikely to be due to differential selection pressures from herbivores feeding on the mature plants over the two years studies.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Chemical Ecology

Publication Date





2625 - 2641