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Differential defoliation of Eucalyptus grandis arises from indiscriminant oviposition and differential larval survival

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1 The influence of six open-pollinated families (OPFs) of Eucalyptus grandis on both the growth and development of larvae and the oviposition preference of a paropsine chrysomelid (Paropsis atomaria) was investigated. The OPFs had previously been identified as differing in their susceptibility to defoliation by P. atomaria in forestry progeny trials.

2 Oviposition preference for resistant and susceptible foliage was tested using binary choice tests. These tests did not demonstrate any significant preference for either resistant or susceptible open-pollinated material indicating that adult host preference for susceptible trees was not a likely cause of differential defoliation.

3 Quantification and analysis of growth and development parameters for all larval stages of P. atomaria showed that feeding on genetic material identified as resistant resulted in a significant reduction of relative growth rate of first instar larvae and an alteration to normal feeding behaviour. There was also a trend towards increased larval mortality on resistant E. grandis.

4 We argue that although the magnitude of these effects was minor, interactions with additional biotic and abiotic sources of mortality in the field have the potential, when magnified over successive generations, to result in significant variation in defoliation of host genotypes in the field.

Keywords: Defence; herbivory; host variation; oviposition; plant resistance; plant-insect interactions

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1461-9563.2008.00423.x

Affiliations: Forest Resources Research, N.S.W. Department of Primary Industries, PO Box 100, Beecroft, New South Wales 2119, Australia

Publication date: February 1, 2009

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