Antonino Cusumano

Antonino Cusumano
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AgreenSkills session, year: 1st session, 2017

Receiving laboratory: DGIMI Diversity, Genomes and Microbe/Insect Interactions, Montpellier

Country of origin : The Netherlands




Mobility project

Unravelling the complexity of plant responses to herbivory: the role of parasitic larvae and their symbiotic viruses as hidden players in plant-insect interactions

Plants and insect herbivores have co-evolved for ca. 400 million years and knowledge on plant defences against herbivory has accumulated rapidly during the last decades. However most of the studies investigating plant-insect interactions have considered insect herbivores as individual organisms; nonetheless insect herbivores often consist themselves in communities which include their microbiota (bacteria, fungi or viruses) but also parasitic invertebrates (parasitic wasps, worms). Such so-called herbivore-associated organisms (HAOs) may play an important role in the expression of the herbivore’s phenotype and consequently on interactions of the herbivore with its food plant. In this proposal we will experimentally manipulate HAOs in the lepidopteran pest Spodoptera littoralis to focus on the role played by parasitic wasp larvae and their associated polydnaviruses as hidden players in plant-insect interactions. Based on the knowledge that the wasp and its associated virus modulate herbivore growth and food consumption, we will combine ecological and molecular approaches to investigate if polydnaviruses affect plant-insect interactions via direct and/or indirect effects.

Biography & research interests

I have a broad interest for insect ecology, plant-insect interaction, intraguild interactions, chemical ecology and biological pest control. I use natural enemies, especially parasitoids and hyper-parasitoids, as model study organisms. I am particularly interested in understanding the host location process adopted by parasitoid species when competing for a shared host. I recently started to be also interested in the role played by insect-associated symbionts in plant-mediated interactions.

Selected publications

Abram PK, Cusumano A, Abram K, Peri E & Colazza, S (2017). Testing the habituation assumption underlying models of parasitoid foraging behavior. PeerJ. 5, e3097.
*Cusumano A, Peri E, & Colazza S (2016). Interspecific competition/facilitation among insect parasitoids. Current Opinion in Insect Science, 14, 12-16
Fatouros NE, Cusumano A, Danchin EG, & Colazza S (2016). Prospects of herbivore egg‐killing plant defenses for sustainable crop protection. Ecology and Evolution. 10.1002/ece3
*Peri E, Salerno G, Slimani T, Frati F, Conti E, Colazza S, & Cusumano A (2016). The response of an egg parasitoid to substrate-borne semiochemicals is affected by previous experience. Scientific reports, 6, 27098.
Ponzio C, Cascone P, Cusumano A, Weldegergis BT, Fatouros NE, Guerrieri E, Dicke M & Gols R (2016). Volatile-mediated foraging behaviour of three parasitoid species under conditions of dual insect herbivore attack. Animal Behaviour, 111, 197-206.
Iacovone A, French AS, Tellier F, Cusumano A, Clément G, Gaertner C, Salerno G & Marion-Poll F (2016). The role of contact chemoreception in the host location process of an egg parasitoid. Journal of Insect Physiology, 91, 63-75.
*Cusumano A, Peri E, Boivin G, & Colazza S (2015). Fitness costs of intrinsic competition in two egg parasitoids of a true bug. Journal of insect physiology, 81, 52-59.
Abram PK, Cusumano A, Peri E, Brodeur J, Boivin G & Colazza, S (2015). Thermal stress affects patch time allocation by preventing forgetting in a parasitoid wasp. Behavioral Ecology, 26, 1326-1334.
*Cusumano A, Weldegergis, BT, Colazza S, Dicke M & Fatouros NE (2015). Attraction of egg-killing parasitoids toward induced plant volatiles in a multi-herbivore context. Oecologia, 179, 163-174.
Moujahed R, Frati F, Cusumano A, Salerno G, Conti E, Peri E & Colazza S (2014). Egg parasitoid attraction toward induced plant volatiles is disrupted by a non-host herbivore attacking above or belowground plant organs. Frontiers in plant science, 5: 601.
Peri E, Cusumano A, Amodeo V, Wajnberg E & Colazza S (2014). Intraguild interactions between two egg parasitoids of a true bug in semi-field and field conditions. PloS ONE, 9:e99876.
Colazza S, Cusumano A, Lo Giudice D, Peri E (2014) Chemo-orientation responses in hymenopteran parasitoids induced by substrate-borne semiochemicals. BioControl 59:1-17.
Cusumano A, Peri E, Amodeo V, McNeil JN, Colazza S (2013) Intraguild interactions between egg parasitoids: window of opportunity and fitness costs for a facultative hyperparasitoid. Plos ONE 8:e64768.
González JM, Aluja M, Cusumano A, Colazza S, Vinson SB (2013). Evaluating the quality of the Mexican fruit-fly, Anastrepha ludens, as host for the parasitoid Melittobia digitata. Entomologia 1:26-31, doi: 10.4081/entomologia.2013.e5.
Cusumano A, Peri E, Vinson SB, Colazza S (2012) Interspecific extrinsic and intrinsic competitive interactions in egg parasitoids. BioControl 57:719–734.
Cusumano A, Peri E, Vinson SB, Colazza S (2012) The ovipositing female of Ooencyrtus telenomicida relies on physiological mechanisms to mediate intrinsic competition with Trissolcus basalis. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 143:155–163.
Cusumano A, González JM, Colazza S, Vinson SB (2012) First report of Melittobia australica Girault in Europe and new record of M. acasta (Walker) for Italy. Zookeys 181:45–51.
Cusumano A, Peri E, Vinson SB, Colazza S (2011) Intraguild interaction between two egg parasitoids exploring host egg patches. BioControl 56:173-184.
Peri E, Cusumano A, Agrò A, Colazza S (2011) Behavioral response of the egg parasitoid Ooencyrtus telenomicida to host-related chemical cues in a tritrophic perspective. BioControl 56:163-171.
González JM, Cusumano A, Williams HJ, Colazza S, Vinson SB (2011) Behavioral and chemical investigations of contact kairomones released by the mud dauber wasp Trypoxylon politum, a host of the parasitoid Melittobia digitata. Journal of Chemical Ecology 37:629-639.
Cusumano A, González JM, Colazza S, Vinson SB (2010) Behavioral responses of the parasitoid Melittobia digitata to volatiles emitted by its natural and laboratory hosts. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 136:301-307.



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