Betty Benrey


Domaines de recherche

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 (2015-2019)


Urbaneja-Bernat, P, Polk, D, Sanchez-Pedraza, F, Benrey, B, Salamanca, J, Rodriguez-Saona, C. 2019. Non-crop habitats serve as potential source of spotted-wing drosophila (Diptera: Drosophilidae) to adjacent cultivated highbush blueberries. The Canadian Entomologist. In press.

Cuny, MAC, Traine, J, Bustos-Segura, C, Benrey, B. 2019.Host density and parasitoid non-consumptive effects interact and alter the outcome of a tritrophic interaction on seeds of wild lima bean. Scientific Reports. In press.

Bustos-Segura, C, MAC, Cuny, M, Benrey, B. 2019. Do parasitoids of leaf herbivores affect plant fitness and multitrophic interactions on seeds of lima bean? Functional Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2435.13478.

Cuny, MAC, La Forgia, D, Desurmont, G, Glauser, G, Benrey, B. 2019. Role of cyanogenic glycosides in seeds of Lima bean (Phaseolus lunatus): Defense, plant nutrition or both?. Planta DOI: 10.1007/s00425-019-03221-3

Abdala-Roberts, L, Pérez Niño, B, Moreira, X, Parra-Tabla, V, Grandi, L, Glauser, G, Benrey, B, Turlings, TCJ. 2019. Effects of early-season insect herbivory on subsequent pathogen infection and ant abundance on wild cotton (Gossypium hirsutum). Journal of Ecology DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.13131

Hansson, C, Kenyon, SG, Benrey, B. 2019. Cryptic species in Horismenus Walker (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) associated with bruchid beetles (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae: Bruchinae), including five new species. Zootaxa 4585 (1): 168–188

Abdala-Roberts, L, Quijano-Medina, T, Moreira, X, Parra-Tabla, V, Berny Mier y Terán, JC, Grandi, L, Glauser, G, Turlings, TCJ, Benrey, B. 2019. Biotic and abiotic factors associated with geographic variation in insect herbivory on wild cotton (Gossypium hirsutum). American Journal of Botany. 106 (8), 1059-1067.


Rodriguez-Saona, C, Cloonan, KR, Sanchez-Pedraza, F, Yucheng Z, Giusti, MM, Benrey, B. 2018. Differential susceptibility of wild and cultivated blueberries to an invasive frugivorous pest, J. Chemical Ecology DOI: 10.1007/s10886-018-1042-1

Cuny, MAC, Gendry, J, Hernandez-Cumplido , J, Benrey, B. 2018. Changes in plant growth and seed production in wild Lima bean in response to herbivory are attenuated by parasitoids. Oecologia 1-11.

Shlichta, JG, Cuny, MAC, Hernandez-Cumplido, J, Traine, J, Benrey, B. 2018. Contrasting consequences of plant domestication for the chemical defenses of leaves and seeds in lima bean (Phaseolus lunatus). Basic and Applied Ecology https://doi.org/10.1016/j.baae.2018.05.012


Cuny, MAC, Shlichta JG, Benrey, B. 2017. The large seed size of domesticated lima beans mitigates intraspecific competition among seed beetle larvae. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 5,145. 

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 5,125.


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.

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, 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.

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.


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

Professeure titulaire, maître de recherche et d'enseignement, chargée administrative du laboratoire



+41 32 718 31 32

+41 32 718 31 37

Bureau D116