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1 April 2015 Conspecific and Heterospecific Aboveground Herbivory Both Reduce Preference by a Belowground Herbivore
N. J. Milano, N. A. Barber, L. S. Adler
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Abstract

Insect herbivores damage plants both above- and belowground, and interactions in each realm can influence the other via shared hosts. While effects of leaf damage on aboveground interactions have been well-documented, studies examining leaf damage effects on belowground interactions are limited, and mechanisms for these indirect interactions are poorly understood. We examined how leaf herbivory affects preference of root-feeding larvae [Acalymma vittatum F. (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae)] in cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.). We manipulated leaf herbivory using conspecific adult A. vittatum and heterospecific larval Spodoptera frugiperda Smith (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) herbivores in the greenhouse and the conspecific only in the field, allowing larvae to choose between roots of damaged and undamaged plants.We also examined whether leaf herbivory induced changes in defensive cucurbitacin C in leaves and roots.We hypothesized that induced changes in roots would deter larvae, and that effects would be stronger for damage by conspecifics than the unrelated caterpillar because the aboveground damage could be a cue to plants indicating future root damage by the same species. In both the greenhouse and field, plants with damaged leaves recruited significantly fewer larvae to their roots than undamaged plants. Effects of conspecific and heterospecific damage did not differ. Leaf damage did not induce changes in leaf or root cucurbitacin C, but did reduce root biomass. While past work has suggested that systemic induction by aboveground herbivory increases resistance in roots, our results suggest that decreased preference by belowground herbivores in this system may be because of reduced root growth.

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N. J. Milano, N. A. Barber, and L. S. Adler "Conspecific and Heterospecific Aboveground Herbivory Both Reduce Preference by a Belowground Herbivore," Environmental Entomology 44(2), 317-324, (1 April 2015). https://doi.org/10.1093/ee/nvv003
Received: 3 June 2014; Accepted: 15 December 2014; Published: 1 April 2015
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KEYWORDS
Acalymma vittatum
Cucumis sativus
generalist
induced defense
specialist
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