Betty Benrey

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.



Chen YH, Shapiro LR, Benrey B, Cibrián-Jaramillo A 2017. Back to the origin: in situ studies are needed to understand selection during crop diversification. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution.

Moreira X, Petry WK, Hernandez-Cumplido J, Morelon S, Benrey B 2016. Plant defence responses to volatile alert signals are population-specific. Oikos 125: 950-956.

Hernandez-Cumplido J, Glauser G, Benrey B 2016. Cascading effects of early-season herbivory on late-season herbivores and their parasitoids. Ecology 97: 1283-1297.

Hernandez-Cumplido J, Forter B, Moreira X, Heil M, Benrey B 2016. Induced Floral and Extrafloral Nectar Production Affect Ant-pollinator Interactions and Plant Fitness. Biotropica 48: 342-348.

Abdala-Roberts L, Hernandez-Cumplido J, Chel-Guerrero L, Betancur-Ancona D, Benrey B, Moreira X 2016. Effects of plant intraspecific diversity across three trophic levels: Underlying mechanisms and plant traits. American Journal of Botany 103: 1810-1818.

Moreira X, Abdala-Roberts L, Hernandez-Cumplido J, Rasmann S, Kenyon SG, Benrey B 2015. Plant species variation in bottom-up effects across three trophic levels: a test of traits and mechanisms. Ecological Entomology 40: 676-686.

Moreira X, Abdala-Roberts L, Hernandez-Cumplido J, Cuny MAC, Glauser G, Benrey B 2015. Specificity of induced defenses, growth, and reproduction in lima bean (Phaseolus lunatus) in response to multispecies herbivory. American Journal of Botany 102: 1300-1308.

Kenyon SG, Buerki S, Hansson C, Alvarez N, Benrey B 2015. Uncovering Cryptic Parasitoid Diversity in Horismenus (Chalcidoidea, Eulophidae). Plos One 10.

Chen YH, Gols R, Stratton CA, Brevik KA, Benrey B 2015. Complex tritrophic interactions in response to crop domestication: predictions from the wild. Entomologia Experimentalis Et Applicata 157: 40-59.

Chen YH, Gols R, Benrey B 2015. Crop Domestication and Its Impact on Naturally Selected Trophic Interactions. In: Berenbaum, MR (ed.) Annual Review of Entomology, Vol 60.

Bergottini VM, Otegui MB, Sosa DA, Zapata PD, Mulot M, Rebord M, Zopfi J, Wiss F, Benrey B, Junier P 2015. Bio-inoculation of yerba mate seedlings (Ilex paraguariensis St. Hill.) with native plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria: a sustainable alternative to improve crop yield. Biology and Fertility of Soils 51: 749-755.

Benrey B, Degen T, Turlings TCJ 2015. Special Issue: 15th International Symposium on Insect-Plant Relationships Preface. Entomologia Experimentalis Et Applicata 157: 1-1.

Shlichta JG, Glauser G, Benrey B 2014. Variation in Cyanogenic Glycosides Across Populations of Wild Lima Beans (Phaseolus lunatus) Has No Apparent Effect on Bruchid Beetle Performance. Journal of Chemical Ecology 40: 468-475.

Zaugg I, Magni C, Panzeri D, Daminati MG, Bollini R, Benrey B, Bacher S, Sparvoli F 2013. QUES, a new Phaseolus vulgaris genotype resistant to common bean weevils, contains the Arcelin-8 allele coding for new lectin-related variants. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 126: 647-661.

Zaugg I, Benrey B, Bacher S 2013. Bottom-Up and Top-Down Effects Influence Bruchid Beetle Individual Performance but Not Population Densities in the Field. Plos One 8.

Laurin-Lemay S, Angers B, Benrey B, Brodeur J 2013. Inconsistent genetic structure among members of a multitrophic system: did bruchid parasitoids (Horismenus spp.) escape the effects of bean domestication? Bulletin of Entomological Research 103: 182-192.

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

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

Jourdie V, Alvarez N, Molina-Ochoa J, Williams T, Bergvinson D, Benrey B, Turlings TCJ, Franck P 2010. Population genetic structure 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: 2168-2179.

Hernandez-Cumplido J, Benrey B, Heil M 2010. Attraction of flower visitors to plants that express indirect defence can minimize ecological costs of ant-pollinator conflicts. Journal of Tropical Ecology 26: 555-557.

Moreau J, Richard A, Benrey B, Thiery D 2009. Host plant cultivar of the grapevine moth Lobesia botrana affects the life history traits of an egg parasitoid. Biological Control 50: 117-122.

Castano-Meneses G, Benrey B, Palacios Vargas JG 2009. Diversity and Temporal Variation of Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) From Malaise Traps in a Tropical Deciduous Forest. Sociobiology 54: 633-645.

Moreau J, Rahme J, Benrey B, Thiery D 2008. Larval host plant origin modifies the adult oviposition preference of the female European grapevine moth Lobesia botrana. Naturwissenschaften 95: 317-324.

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

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

Alvarez N, Hossaert-McKey M, Restoux G, Delgado-Salinas A, Benrey B 2007. Anthropogenic effects on population genetics of phytophagous insects associated with domesticated plants. Evolution 61: 2986-2996.

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

Moreau J, Benrey B, Thiery D 2006. Assessing larval food quality for phytophagous insects: are the facts as simple as they appear? Functional Ecology 20: 592-600.

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

Alvarez N, Napoles JR, Anton KW, Benrey B, Hossaert-McKey M 2006. Phylogenetic relationships in the Neotropical bruchid genus Acanthoscelides (Bruchinae, Bruchidae, Coleoptera). Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research 44: 63-74.

Alvarez N, Mercier L, Hossaert-McKey M, Contreras-Garduno J, Kunstler G, Aebi A, Benrey B 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aebi A, Alvarez N, Butcher RDJ, Hansson C, Risterucci AM, Benrey B 2004. Microsatellite markers in a complex of Horismenus sp. (Hymenoptera : Eulophidae), parasitoids of bruchid beetles. Molecular Ecology Notes 4: 707-709.

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

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

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

Gonzalez-Rodriguez A, Benrey B, Callejas A, Oyama K 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: 185-189.

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

Montoya P, Liedo P, Benrey B, Barrera JF, Cancino J, Aluja M 2000. Functional response and superparasitism by Diachasmimorpha longicaudata (Hymenoptera : Braconidae), a parasitoid of fruit flies (Diptera : Tephritidae). Annals of the Entomological Society of America 93: 47-54.

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

Eben A, Benrey B, Sivinski J, Aluja M 2000. Host species and host plant effects on preference and performance of Diachasmimorpha longicaudata (Hymenoptera : Braconidae). Environmental Entomology 29: 87-94.

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

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

Osorio Beristain M, Dominguez CA, Eguiarte LE, Benrey B 1997. Pollination efficiency of native and invading Africanized bees in the tropical dry forest annual plant, Kallstroemia grandiflora Torr ex Gray. Apidologie 28: 11-16.

Lindig Cisneros R, Benrey B, Espinosa Garcia FJ 1997. Phytoalexins, resistance traits, and domestication status in Phaseolus coccineus and Phaseolus lunatus. Journal of Chemical Ecology 23: 1997-2011.

Denno RF, Benrey B 1997. Aggregation facilitates larval growth in the neotropical nymphalid butterfly Chlosyne janais. Ecological Entomology 22: 133-141.

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

Benrey B, Denno RF 1997. The slow-growth-high-mortality hypothesis: A test using the cabbage butterfly. Ecology 78: 987-999.

Hardin MR, Benrey B, Coll M, Lamp WO, Roderick GK, Barbosa P 1995. Arthropod pest resurgence - an overview of potential mechanisms. Crop Protection 14: 3-18.

Soberon J, Cordero C, Benrey B, Parlange P, Garciasaez C, Berges G 1988. Patterns of oviposition by Sandia xami (Lepidoptera, Lycaenidae) in relation to food plant apparency. Ecological Entomology 13: 71-79.

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.

Betty Benrey

Research director (and in administrative charge of the laboratory)



+41 32 718 31 32

+41 32 718 31 37

Bureau D116