Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata (2014) 153, 142-155

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Sandra Flores-Mejia, Valérie Fournier and Conrad Cloutier (2014)
Temperature responses of a plant-insect system using a food-web performance approach
Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 153 (2), 142-155
Abstract: Evaluation of the performance of a plant-herbivore system as a whole is difficult due to the lack of fitness parameters that can be applied to both components. The individual use of traditional measures of performance (e.g., rm, biomass) can provide useful, but incomplete information on the performance of insect herbivores and seldom incorporates plant performance. We propose the use of the net generational productivity (NGP) to evaluate the fitness of the herbivore, which can then be compared directly with the performance of the plant in biomass units, to obtain the food-web performance ratio (phiH/P). We compared three biotypes of the potato aphid, Macrosiphum euphorbiae Thomas (Hemiptera: Aphididae), when raised on three different host plants: potato (Solanum tuberosum L. cv. Norland) and two bell peppers (Capsicum annuum L. cv. Fascinato and cv. Crosby) (all Solanaceae) at temperatures ranging from 8 to 36 °C. The temperature profiles of the potato aphid biotypes suggest that this aphid is better suited to temperate climates, and its performance generally depends on the particular host-plant/biotype association. Plant growth performance showed that potato has a lower thermal tolerance, but has a faster growth rate than bell peppers, especially in the range of 16–24 °C. Temperature variation in the phiH/P ratio shows that aphids have a greater performance than plants, especially at lower temperatures, at which they can accumulate biomass up to 148 times faster. Because of the aphid's biological inability to withstand long exposures to temperatures above 28 °C, plants have a slight advantage over aphids. Nonetheless, as the performance of plants is extremely reduced at high temperatures, this advantage cannot withstand long-term exposures to extreme temperatures. This is the first attempt to obtain a parameter capable of determining the climatic profile and performance of a food web in an inclusive yet simple manner.
(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): Sandra Flores-Mejia, Valérie Fournier

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


Pest and/or beneficial records:

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


Macrosiphum euphorbiae Green pepper/chilli (Capsicum)
Macrosiphum euphorbiae Potato (Solanum tuberosum)