Herbivores and pathogens on willow: do they affect each other?

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1 Willows often need to cope with attack by both rust fungi and herbivores. We studied whether rust infection on willow affects the herbivore, and vice versa, whether herbivore feeding affects the fungal infection. The system investigated by laboratory bioassays and greenhouse experiments consisted of the willow hybrid Salix × cuspidata, the rust Melampsora allii-fragilis and the willow leaf beetle Plagiodera versicolora. Effects were studied both on a local scale (rust infection and feeding on the same leaf) and systemically (rust infection and feeding on different, but adjacent leaves).

2 Rust infection was not affected by herbivore feeding on a local scale. Systemically, however, the willow's susceptibility towards rust infection was increased by herbivore feeding, as indicated by a higher number of rust sori on leaves adjacent to feeding-damaged leaves. The herbivore's performance was detrimentally affected by rust infection: increase of mortality (systemically), decrease of larval weight (locally and systemically) and prolonging of developmental time (locally and systemically).

3 Previous rust infection enhanced systemically the willow's susceptibility towards subsequent fungal infection. Previous herbivore feeding on the willow had no effects on the herbivore's developmental time and mortality. However, feeding upon previously feeding-damaged willow leaves significantly reduced larval weight.

Keywords: Cross‐effects; Melampsora; Plagiodera; Salix; induced plant resistance; rust; tripartite interactions

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1461-9563.2003.00189.x

Affiliations: Freie Universität Berlin, Institut für Biologie, Haderslebener Str. 9, D-12163 Berlin, Germany

Publication date: November 1, 2003

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