The grasshopper Calliptamus abbreviatus Ikonn is a significant pest species distributed across the northern Asian grasslands. Grasshopper plagues often result in significant loss to plant biomass and subsequent deterioration of grass quality that leads to economic depletion. To better understand the close relationship between C. abbreviatus and host plant species, a 2-yr study was conducted. Results showed that the relative density of C. abbreviatus was positively correlated with aboveground biomass of the plant Artemisia frigida. We hypothesized that A. frigida, the most favorable food resource, was optimal for growth performance and that the presence of this plant species led to C. abbreviatus plagues. A controlled feeding trial showed that C. abbreviatus had better growth performance (i.e., survival rate, body mass, and growth rate) when fed on A. frigida and this host was preferred over other plant species since the consumption and food utilization efficiency on plant was comparatively greater. These results were consistent with the distribution of C. abbreviatus in the grassland and suggested that the presence of A. frigida significantly improved C. abbreviatus growth performance. These findings will be useful for designing improved pest management strategies in response to grassland vegetation succession due to grazing, climate change, or human interference.
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Vol. 113 • No. 3