Betty Benrey


Research leader


  • research interests

    For some time now I have been studying different aspects of the interactions among plants, herbivorous insects and the natural enemies of these insects. In a first study I examined the direct and indirect effect of several plant species on the interaction between the Cabbage Butterfly, Pieris rapae, and the larval parasitoid, Cotesia glomerata. The results of this work revealed the importance plant traits for parasitoid success, which inspired me to further pursue a better understanding of these interactions in a natural system. Our principle model system comprises beans, bruchid beetles and their natural enemies, which is used to test several ecological and evolutionary hypotheses in a natural setting. I have established a research group in which students from Neuchâtel and Mexico examine the consequences of plant domestication and the effects of plant variation on tri-trophic interactions. The main objective of our research is to elucidate the relative importance of proximal factors in shaping the evolution of tri-trophic interactions.

  • publications

    Laurin-Lemay, S., B. Angers, B. Benrey and J. Brodeur. 2012. Inconsistent genetic structure among members of a multitrophic system: did bruchid parasitoids (Horismenus spp.) escape the effects of bean domestication? Bulletin of Entomological Research.In Press.

    Jourdie V., N. Alvarez, J. Molina-Ochoa, T. Williams, D. Bergvinson, B. Benrey, T.C. J. Turlings, and P. Franck, 2010.  Population geneticstructure of two primary parasitoids of Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera), Chelonus insularis and Campoletis sonorensis (Hymenoptera): to what extent is the host plant important? Molecular Ecology 19(10): 2168-2179.

    Moreau, J., C. Villemant, B. Benrey and D. Thiery. 2010. Species diversity and composition of larval parasitoids of the European grapevine moth (Lobesia botrana): the influence of region and cultivar. Biological Control 54:300-306.

    Restoux, G., M. Hossaert-Mckey, B. Benrey and N. Alvarez. 2010. The effect of host plant and isolation on the genetic structure of phytophagous insects: A preliminary study on a bruchid beetle Eur. J. Entomol. 107: 299–304.

    Hernandez-Cumplido, J., B. Benrey and Martin Heil. 2010. Attraction of flower visitors to plants that express indirect defence can minimize ecological costs of ant–pollinator conflicts. Journal of Tropical Ecology 26:1–3.

    Castaño-Meneses G., B. Benrey and J. G. Palacios. 2009. Diversity and Temporal Variation of Ants (Hymenoptera:Formicidae) From Malaise Traps in a Tropical Deciduous Forest. Sociobiology. 4(2): 633-645.

    Moreau, J., A. Richards, B. Benrey and D. Thiery. 2009. The influence of plant cultivar of the grapevine moth, Lobesia botrana on the life history traits of an egg parasitoid. Biological Control. 50: 117-122.

    Aebi, A. T. Shani, C. Hansson, J. Contrears-Garduno, G. Mansion and B. Benrey. 2008. The potential of native parasitoids in the control of Mexican bean beetles: A genetic and ecological approach. Biological Control. 47(3), 289-297.

    Moreau, J., J. Rahme, B. Benrey, and D. Thiery. 2007. Larval host plant origin modifies the adult oviposition preference of the female European grapevine moth Lobesia botrana. Naturwissenschaften. Doi: 10.1007/s00114-007-0332-1.

    Moreau, J., D. Thiery, J.P. Troussard and B. Benrey. 2007. Grape variety affects female but also male reproductive success in wild European grapevine moths. Ecological Entomology. 32, 747-753.

    Alvarez, N., M. Hossaert-McKey, G. Restoux, A. Delgado-Salinas and B. Benrey. 2007. Anthropogenic effects on population genetics of phytophagous insects associated with domesticated plants. Evolution. 61(11): 2614-2622; doi:10.1111/j.1558-5646.2007.00235.x  

    Alvarez, N., B. Benrey, M. Hossaert-McKey, A. Grill, D. McKey and N. Galtier. 2006. Phylogeographic support for horizontal gene transfer involving sympatric bruchid species. Biology Direct. 1:21.

    Alvarez, N., L. Mercier, M. Hossaert-McKey, G. Kunstler, A. Aebi and B. Benrey. 2006. Ecological distribution and niche segregation of sibling species: the case of bean beetles, Acanthoscelides obtectus Say and A. obvelatus Bridwell. Ecological Entomology. 31: 582-590.

    Moreau, JM, B. Benrey, and D. Thiery 2006. Host plant effects on the reproductive output of a polyphagous herbivore. Functional Ecology. 20(4): 592-600.

    Moreau, J., B. Benrey, and D. Thiery. 2006. Grape variety affects larval performance and also female reproductive performance of the European Grapevine moth (Lobesia botrana). Bulletin of Entomological Research. 96(2): 205-212

    Moreau, J., X. Arruego,  B. Benrey, and D. Thiery. 2006. Differences in nutritional quality of parts of Vitis vinifera affect fitness of the European grapevine moth. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata. 119: 93-99.

    Campan E. and B. Benrey. 2006. Environmental and genetic components for host use in Zabrotes subfasciatus (Coleoptera: Bruchidae). Insect Science. 13: 309-318.

    Alvarez, N., Romero Napoles, J., Anton, K. W., Benrey, B., and Hossaert-McKey, M. 2006. Phylogenetic relationships in the Neotropical bruchid genus Acanthoscelides Shilsky. Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research. 44(1): 63-74.

    Campan E., A. Callejas, M. Rahier and B. Benrey. 2005. Inter-population variation in a larval parasitoid of bruchids, Stenocorse bruchivora (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) : Host plant effects. Environmental Entomology, 34: 457-465.

    Alvarez, N., D. McKey, M. Hossaert-McKey, C. Born, L. Mercier and B. Benrey.2005. Ancient and recent evolutionary history of the bruchid beetle Acanthoscelides obtectus Say, a cosmopolitan pest of beans. Molecular Ecology, 14, 1015–1024.

    Alvarez, N., M. Hossaert-McKey, J.-Y. Rasplus, D. McKey, L. Mercier, L. Soldati, A. Aebi, T. Shani and B. Benrey. 2005. Sibling species of bean bruchids: a morphological and phylogenetic study of Acanthoscelides obtectus Say and A. obvelatus Bridwell.  Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research, 43(1): 29-37.

    Alvarez, N., C. Born, A.-M. Risterucci, P. Sourrouille, B. Benrey, and M. Hossaert-McKey. 2004. Isolation and characterization of polymorphic microsatellite loci in Acanthoscelides obtectus Say (Coleoptera: Bruchidae). Molecular Ecology Notes, 4: 683-685. 

    Aebi, A., T. Shani, R.D.J. Butcher, N. Alvarez, A-M Risterucci and B. Benrey. 2004. Isolation and characterization of polymorphic microsatellite markers in Zabrores subfasciatus Boheman (Coleoptera: Bruchidae). Molecular Ecology Notes, 4: 752-754.

    Aebi, A., R.D.J. Butcher, A-M Risterucci, C. Hansson C  and B. Benrey. 2004. Microsatellite markers in a complex of Horismenus sp. (Hymenoptera : Eulophidae), parasitoids of bruchid beetles. Molecular Ecology Notes, 4: 707-709. 

    Hansson,C., A. Aebi and B. Benrey. 2004. Horismenus species (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) in a bruchid beetle parasitoid guild, including the description of a new species. Zootaxa, 548: 1-16.

    Campan, E. and B. Benrey. 2004.  Behavior and performance of a specialist and a generalist parasitoid of bruchids on wild and cultivated beans. Biological Control, 30: 220-228.

    Benrey, B, A. Callejas and E. Campan. 2003. Inter-population variation in performance of insects in a tri-trophic system Journal of Insect, 3 (33), 3-3. 

    Montoya, P., B. Benrey, J. Barrera, M. Zenil, L.Ruiz and P. Liedo. 2003. Oviposition behavior and conspecific host discrimination in Diachasmimorpha longicaudata (Hymenoptera: Braconidae), a fruit fly parasitoid. Biocontrol Science and Technology, 13(7): 683-690-

    Amsellem, L., A.M. Risterucci and B. Benrey. 2003. Isolation and characterization of polymorphic microsatellite loci in Lobesia botrana Den. & Schiff. (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae). Molecular Ecology Notes 3(1): 117-119.

    Alvarez, N., A. Aebi, A.M. Risterucci, M. Hossaert-Mckey and B. Benrey. 2003.  Isolation and characterization of polymorphic microsatellite loci in Acanthoscelides obvelatus Bridwell (Coleoptera: Bruchidae). Molecular Ecology Notes 3(1):12-14. 

    González-Rodríguez, A., B. Benrey, A. Callejas and K. Oyama. 2002. Inter- and intraspecific genetic variation and differentiation in the sibling bean weevils Zabrotes subfasciatus and Z. sylvestris (Coleoptera: Bruchidae) from Mexico. Bulletin of Entomological Research, 92(2): 185-171.

    Montoya, P., P. Liedo, B. Benrey, J. Cancino, J. Barrera, J. Sivinsky and M. Aluja. 2000. Biological control of Anastrepha spp. (Diptera: Tephritidae) in Mango through augmentative releases of Diachasmimorpha longicaudata (Ashmead) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). Biological Control, 18: 216-224.

    Montoya, P., B. Benrey, M. Aluja and P. Liedo. 2000. Functional response of Diachasmimorpha longicaudata, a parasitoid of fruit flies. Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 93: 47-54.

    Eben, A., B. Benrey, M. Aluja and J. Sivinsky. 2000. Host plant effects on the performance and behavior of Diacasmimorpha longicaudata. Environmental Entomology, 29: 87-94.

    González-Rodríguez, A., B. Benrey, A. Castaneda and K. Oyama. 2000. Population genetic structure of Acanthoscelides abtectus and A. obvelatus (Coleoptera: Bruhidae) from wild and cultivated Phaseolus spp. (Leguminosae).  Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 93: 1100-1107.

    Turlings, T. and B. Benrey. 1998. The effects of plant metabolites on the behavior and development of parasitic wasps. Ecoscience,  5:321-333.

    Benrey, B., A. Callejas , L. Rios, K. Oyama and R.F. Denno. 1998. The effects of domestication of Brassica and Phaseolus on the interaction between phytophagous insects and parasitoids. Biological Control, 11: 130-140.

    Trenczek, T., B. Benrey, A. Vischer, and S. Dorn. 1997. Interactions between the parasitic wasp Cotesia glomerata and their host insects of the genus Pieris. Verh.Dtsch. Zool. Ges. 90, 394

    Benrey, B., L. Kaiser and R. F. Denno. 1997. The influence of plant species on attraction and host acceptance in Cotesia glomerata (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). Journal of Insect Behavior, 10: 619-630.

    Lindig, R., B. Benrey and F. Espinoza. 1997. Phytoalexins, resistance traits, and domestication status in Phaseolus coccineusand Phaseolus lunatus. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 23: 1997-2011.

    Denno, R.F. and B. Benrey. 1997. Aggregation facilitates larval growth in the Neotropical Butterfly Chlosyne janais. Ecological Entomology, 22: 133-141.

    Beristain-Osorio, M. C.A. Dominguez, L.E. Eguiarte and B. Benrey. 1997. Pollination efficiency of native and invading Africanized bees in a tropical dry forest annual plant, Kallstroemia grandiflora Torr ex Gray. Apidology, 28: 11-16.

    Benrey, B. and R.F. Denno. 1997. The slow growth-high mortality hypothesis: A test using the Cabbage Butterfly. Ecology, 78: 987-999.

    Hardin, M., B. Benrey, M. Coll, W. Lamp, G. Roderick and P. Barbosa. 1995. Arthropod pest resurgence: An analysis of potential mechanisms. Crop Protection, 14: 3-18. 

    Soberon, J., C. Cordero, B. Benrey. P. Parlange and C. García-Saez. 1988. Patterns of oviposition by Sandia xami in relation to food plant apparency. Ecological Entomology, 13: 71-79.

    Odendaal, F.J., M.D. Rausher, B. Benrey and J. Nunez-Farfan. 1987. Predation by Anolis lizards on Battus philenor (Papilionidae) raises questions about butterfly mimicry systems. Journal of the Lepidopterists Society of America, 41: 141-144.

    Book chapters
    Benrey, B. and T.C.J. Turlings. 2001. Efectos de los Metabolitos de las Plantas sobre el Comportamiento y Desarrollo de Avispas Parasitarias. In: A.L. Anaya, F.J. Espinoza-García and R. Cruz-Ortega (eds.) Interacciones Químicas entre Organismos. Aspectos Básicos y Perspectivas de su Aplicación. Editorial Siglo XXI, México. 
    Barbosa, P. and B. Benrey. 1998. Influence of Plants on Insect Parasitoids. In: P. Barbosa (ed.) Conservation Biological Control. pp.  55-71 pp. Academic Press.
    Benrey, B., C. Cordero, G. Jimenez y J. Soberon. 1994. Ecología y Conducta de Sandia xami (Lycaenidae). En: A. Rojo (ed.) La Reserva Ecologica del Pedregal de San Angel: Ecología, Historia Natural y Manejo. U.N.A.M. Mexico.
    Benrey, B. and W.O. Lamp. 1994. Biological Control in the Management of Planthopper Populations. In: R.F. Denno and T.J. Perfect (eds.). Planthoppers: Their Ecology and Management. Chapman and Hall, New York, USA.


  • teaching

    ... will be available soon ...