Ecological Entomology (2017) 42, 411-421

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Grant L. Olson, Judith H. Myers, Lia Hemerik and Jenny S. Cory (2017)
Phylloplane bacteria increase the negative impact of food limitation on insect fitness
Ecological Entomology 42 (4), 411-421
Abstract: 1. When populations of herbivorous insects increase in density, they can alter the quantity or quality of their food. The impacts of diet-related stressors on insect fitness have been investigated singly, but not simultaneously.
2. Foliage quantity and quality of red alder, Alnus rubra, were manipulated together with the presence of non-entomopathogenic phylloplane bacteria to investigate their impacts, singly and in combination, on survival, pupal mass, growth rate, fecundity and egg quality of a cyclic forest insect, the western tent caterpillar, Malacosoma californicum pluviale.
3. Food limitation (half food) had strong negative impacts on all life-history traits. When the larvae were fed continuously, however, neither ingesting phylloplane bacteria nor eating leaves from damaged branches (induced foliage) affected survival. In the half-food treatment, ingesting bacteria further increased mortality, while feeding on induced foliage improved survival.
4. Growth rate and pupal mass of both sexes were reduced for larvae with food limitation compared with continuously fed insects and this was exacerbated when the larvae also ate bacteria-treated leaves. A combination of bacteria and induced foliage also reduced larval growth rate by 5% in the full-food treatment.
5. Fecundity (eggs per egg mass) was 2.7 times greater in full-food than in food-limited treatments but neither phylloplane bacteria nor plant induction had an effect. Insects fed induced foliage produced smaller eggs. Overall, there was no evidence of a three-way interaction between the three stressors, although there were negative synergistic effects, primarily between food limitation and the ingestion of phylloplane bacteria.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
(original language: English)
Link to article at publishers website
Database assignments for author(s): Judith H. Myers

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
environment - cropping system/rotation

Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.

Malacosoma californicum Alder (Alnus)