A wide range of susceptibility exists across elm (Ulmus) species and hybrids to the elm leaf beetle, Pyrrhalta luteola (Müller) (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). We evaluated various elm species, hybrids, or cultivars (taxa) growing in an experimental plantation in the city of Holbrook, AZ, for leaf anatomical (toughness and trichome density) and nutritional (minerals and sugars) traits that may be associated with host resistance. Leaf toughness and percentage of defoliation (susceptibility) were not correlated. However, we found weak negative correlations between percentage of defoliation and density of trichomes on the leaf abaxial surface. Of the 11 leaf nutrients examined, concentrations of iron and phosphorus correlated inversely with percentage of defoliation. The remaining nine traits did not show any correlation with percentage of defoliation. We concluded that individual anatomical and nutritional traits of elm species/ hybrids do not seem to create a strong barrier to elm leaf beetle defoliation. However, the results from a stepwise multiple regression analysis indicated that collectively, these traits may play an important role in determining susceptibility.
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Vol. 101 • No. 3