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Influence of host plant heterogeneity on the distribution of a birch aphid

Johnson, S. N., Elston, D. A. and Hartley, S. E. (2003) Influence of host plant heterogeneity on the distribution of a birch aphid. Ecological Entomology, 28 (5). pp. 533-541. ISSN 0307-6946

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-2311.2003.00547.x

Abstract/Summary

1. The spatial and temporal abundance of the aphid Euceraphis betulae was investigated in relation to heterogeneity in host plant ( Betula pendula) vigour and pathogenic stress. The performance of aphids feeding on vigorous and stressed foliage was also examined. 2. The plant stress and plant vigour hypotheses have been suggested as opposing ways in which foliage quality influences herbivore abundance. In many plants, however, vigorous growing foliage co-exists with stressed or damaged foliage. 3. There was a negative correlation between branch growth ( vigour) and branch stress ( leaf chlorosis), with the most vigorous branches displaying little or no stress, and the most stressed branches achieving poor growth. There was a similar negative correlation between vigour and stress at the level of individual trees, which themselves represented a continuum in quality. 4. At the beginning of the season, E. betulae were intermittently more abundant on vigorous branches than on branches destined to become stressed, but aphids became significantly more abundant on stressed branches later in the season, when symptoms of stress became apparent. Similar patterns of aphid abundance were seen on vigorous and stressed trees in the following year. 5. Euceraphis betulae performance was generally enhanced when feeding on naturally stressed B. pendula leaves, but there was some evidence for elevated potential reproduction when feeding on vigorous leaves too. 6. Overall, plant stress probably influences E. betulae distribution more than plant vigour, but the temporal and spatial variability in plant quality suggests that plant vigour could play a role in aphid distribution early in the season.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science
ID Code:3686
Uncontrolled Keywords:Euceraphis betulae fungal pathogen leaf senescence resource tracking DREPANOSIPHUM-PLATANOIDES SCHR TREE-DWELLING APHID MOUNTAIN BIRCH POPULATION-DYNAMICS SYCAMORE APHIDS DROUGHT-STRESS REPRODUCTIVE STRATEGIES INSECT PERFORMANCE HABITAT QUALITY BETULA-PENDULA
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