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Patterns of interspecific associations of stem gallers on willows

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The pattern of interspecific associations of three stem-galling sawfly species (Euura atra, E. elaeagnos, E. purpureae) and three stem-galling gallmidge species (Rabdophaga sp. 3–5) was investigated on five willow taxa (Salix alba, S. fragilis, S. × rubens, S. elaeagnos, S. purpurea) at five natural sites in Central Europe. The willow species harboured specific species associations of two stem gallers, each pair consisting of one Euura and one Rabdophaga species. The stem gallers were patchily distributed and their densities varied significantly among willow host plant species, host plant individuals, and host plant sexes. Four of the six species showed a significant increase in galling rate with shoot length. The other two species were the sawfly and cecidomyiid pair that induce galls on S. purpurea. The preference of stem gallers to longer shoots was generally not related to higher larval performance in terms of survival. Only one species, Rabdophaga sp. 5, was found to be more abundant on male plants. The correlation of densities of the species pairs of stem gallers was independent of willow sexes. Species pairs of stem gallers co-occurring on the same willow species tended to attack different shoots within the same host plant individual. When species pairs co-occurred on shoots they were usually found in similar densities as when occurring alone on shoots. The stem-galling sawflies usually formed galls at the basal part of a shoot, whereas the gallmidge R. sp. 5 (R. sp. 3 and R. sp. 4 showed no clear tendency) preferred the middle or distal part of a shoot. This is interpreted with differences of their phenology and oviposition period.

Keywords: Cecidomyiidae; Distribution; Euura spp; Rabdophaga spp; Salix spp; Tenthredinidae; interspecific association; plant vigour hypothesis; stem galler

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Johann Wolfgang Goethe Universität, Zentrum für Rechtsmedizin, Kennedyallee 104, D-60596 Frankfurt, Germany and 2: Centre of Ecology and Hydrology, CEH Dorset, Winfrith Technology Centre, Winfrith Newburgh, Dorchester, Dorset, DT2 8ZD, U.K.

Publication date: November 1, 2003

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