A. Yoshioka, M. B. Takada, I. Washitani
Journal of Insect Science 14 (110), 1-14, (1 August 2014) https://doi.org/10.1673/031.014.110
KEYWORDS: agroecosystem, Alien plant, apparent competition, areawide pest management, generalist insect herbivore, metapopulation
Non-native plant species can provide native generalist insects, including pests, with novel food and habitats. It is hypothesized that local and landscape-level abundances of non-native plants can affect the population size of generalist insects, although generalists are assumed to be less sensitive to habitat connectivity than specialists. In a heterogeneous landscape in Japan, the relationship between the density of a native pest of rice (Stenotus rubrovittatus (Matsumura) (Heteroptera: Miridae)) and the abundance of Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam. (Poales: Poaceae)), a non-native meadow grass known to facilitate S. rubrovittatus, was analyzed. Statistical analyses of data on bug density, vegetation, and the spatial distribution of fallow fields and meadows dominated by Italian ryegrass, obtained by field surveys, demonstrated that local and landscape-level abundances of Italian ryegrass (the unmowed meadow areas within a few hundred meters of a sampling plot) positively affected bug density before its immigration into rice fields. Our findings suggest that a generalist herbivorous insect that prefers non-native plants responds to spatial availability and connectivity of plant species patches at the metapopulation level. Fragmentation by selective mowing that decreases the total area of source populations and increases the isolation among them would be an effective and environmentally-friendly pest management method.