The behavioural response of the predatory mite Phytoseiulus persimilis to volatiles from several host plants of its prey, spider mites in the genus Tetranychus, was investigated in a Y-tube olfactometer. A positive response to volatiles from tomato leaves and Lima bean leaves was recorded, whereas no response was observed to volatiles from cucumber leaves, or leaves of Solanum luteum and Solanum dulcamara.
Different results were obtained for predators that differed in rearing history. Predators that were reared on spider mites (Tetranychus urticae) on Lima bean leaves did respond to volatiles from Lima bean leaves, while predators that had been reared on the same spider mite species but with cucumber as host plant did not respond to Lima bean leaf volatiles. This effect is compared with the effect of rearing history on the response of P. persimilis to volatile allelochemicals of prey-infested plant leaves.