Rates of insect herbivory on Silene dioica change across primary successional zones.
(English)Manuscript (Other academic)
The strengths and directions of herbivore-host plant interactions are strongly shaped by environmental conditions that also affect a number of plant traits (density, size, nutritional quality). We studied spatio-temporal patterns in attack rates of two specialist herbivores Delia criniventris and Caryocolum viscariella that utilize the same food resource, the floral stems, of their shared host plant Silene dioica across young, intermediate and old successional zones in the primary succession in a Bothinan archipelago. Our data from nine islands collected during seven consecutive years showed that attack rates were consistently higher in the youngest zone and decreased in parallel to progressing succession. This zonal pattern of decreasing attack rates correlated with several plant attributes, a decrease in plant size and nitrogen content, and an increased content of secondary compounds, but not to host plant density. We failed to come up with a simple explanation for the spatial structure with chronic high attack rates in the younger zones. However, the consistent patterns in attack rate suggest that a suite of abiotic and biotic factors interact and reinforce the strength and direction of selection.
Research subject Ecological Botany
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-21000OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-21000DiVA: diva2:210247