Gary C. Chang, Claire E. Rutledge, Russell C. Biggam, Sanford D. Eigenbrode
Journal of Insect Science 4 (18), 1-11, (1 May 2004) https://doi.org/10.1673/031.004.1801
KEYWORDS: Acyrthosiphon pisum, Sitona lineatus, multitrophic interactions, pitfall sampling
Crop traits can alter economically important interactions between plants, pests, and biological control agents. For example, a reduced waxy bloom on the surface of pea plants alters interactions between pea aphids and their natural enemies. In this study, we assess whether the effect of wax reduction extends beyond the 2 or 3 arthropod species closely associated with the plants and into the structure of the broader arthropod community of over 200 taxa at our site. We sampled arthropods on lines of peas with normal and reduced wax in Latah Co., Idaho using pitfall traps within randomly assigned pairs of 5 × 5 meter plots. During the 1998 and 1999 growing seasons, we collected 12,113 individual arthropods from 221 unambiguously identified morphospecies. The number of individuals collected from each morphospecies responded idiosyncratically to the reduced wax peas. To test whether arthropod community structure differed between the collections from plots having peas with normal or reduced wax, we performed a randomization test. The collection from peas with reduced wax had higher species evenness and thus higher community diversity despite having lower species richness. Our results demonstrate the potential of a single plant trait, epicuticular wax, to affect a community of arthropods. Two pests of peas had opposite responses to peas with reduced wax. The number of pea aphids collected was greater from peas with normal wax peas than those with reduced wax. In contrast, the number of pea leaf weevils collected was greater from peas with reduced wax.