Andrei V. Alyokhin, Pingjun Yanga, Russell H. Messingb
Journal of Insect Science 4 (13), 1-7, (1 April 2004) https://doi.org/10.1673/031.004.1301
KEYWORDS: Sophonia rufofascia, Myrica faya, Metrosideros polymorpha, biological invasion, exotic species, oviposition, biotic facilitation
The two-spotted leafhopper, Sophonia rufofascia (Kuoh and Kuoh), is an exotic pest from South-East Asia that attacks a wide variety of plant species in Hawaii. Myrica faya Aiton is an aggressive exotic weed that displaces and excludes native plants in Hawaiian forests. It has been argued that because of the high nutritional quality of its foliage, M. faya might facilitate leafhopper invasion of native Hawaiian ecosystems that were originally dominated by the endemic tree Metrosideros polymorpha (Gaudichaud). In the present study, we quantified suitability of M. faya and M. polymorpha as ovipositional hosts for S. rufofascia. Overall, leafhoppers preferred to deposit their eggs into the foliage of M. faya. M. faya presence in the area did not affect leafhopper oviposition on M. polymorpha. Foliar pubescence provided good protection of hirsute morphotypes of M. polymorpha. At the same time, glabrous M. polymorpha morphotypes were quite suitable for leafhopper oviposition. There was no difference in the abundance of leafhopper eggs along a precipitation gradient. Our results confirm that invasion of native Hawaiian forests by the weed M. faya will facilitate their invasion by S. rufofascia. Because of the broad host range characteristic of the two-spotted leafhopper, this build-up may adversely affect a number of endemic plant species growing in native forests.