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1 April 2002 Periodical Cicada (Magicicada cassini) Oviposition Damage: Visually Impressive yet Dynamically Irrelevant
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Selective herbivory by animals can have significant effects on the succession of a plant community. Damage resulting from major insect outbreaks has been shown to alter species dominance and competitive balance of woody plants in temperate North America. In this study we examine the effects over three seasons of a visually striking herbivory event: periodical cicada (Magicicada cassini) oviposition into an early successional tree community in the prairie-forest ecotone in eastern Kansas. Oviposition damage during cicada emergence in 1998 was large in overall magnitude, highly variable in space and varied by host tree species. From 1998–2000 we monitored four measures of tree growth on individuals of each tree species on the study site, and infructescence production on the dominant species (rough leaved dogwood, Cornus drummondii). Cicada damage in 1998 was regressed against each measure of tree performance in following years. Only a few statistically significant results were found. Overall, we concluded that the widespread oviposition damage from periodical cicadas did not have any important effects on successional dynamics of the host plants, suggesting that the trees appeared to compensate sufficiently for physiological damage during the emergence. We suggest that documenting the absence of substantial impacts from episodes of herbivory is useful in gauging the general significance of herbivory in succession.

WILLIAM M. COOK and ROBERT D. HOLT "Periodical Cicada (Magicicada cassini) Oviposition Damage: Visually Impressive yet Dynamically Irrelevant," The American Midland Naturalist 147(2), 214-224, (1 April 2002).[0214:PCMCOD]2.0.CO;2
Accepted: 1 October 2001; Published: 1 April 2002
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