Influence of surrounding vegetation on insect herbivory: A matter of spatial scale and herbivore specialisation

  • Giffard B
  • Jactel H
  • Corcket E
 et al. 
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The diversity of surrounding vegetation is thought to modify the interactions between a focal plant and its herbivores, disrupting (associational resistance) or enhancing (associational susceptibility) host plant location and colonisation. We compared the effects of host plant concentration on herbivory by generalist and specialist insects feeding on oak seedlings by increasing local concentration of seedlings. We also assessed the effects of the composition and structure of surrounding vegetation, both at stand and local levels. The damage caused by generalist leaf-feeding insects depended on the structure of plant communities at stand level, and increased with tree cover. By contrast, infestation by specialist leaf miners was affected by local understorey vegetation surrounding oak seedlings, and decreased with increasing shrub cover and stratification diversity. Leaf mine abundance was higher at higher oak seedling density, giving support to the host concentration hypothesis. However, the abundance of these specialist herbivores was also negatively correlated with damage caused by the generalist external leaf-feeders, suggesting competitive interactions. © 2012 Gesellschaft fU{double grave}r U{double grave}kologie.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Biodiversity
  • Generalist
  • Host plant concentration
  • Insect herbivory
  • Plant neighbours
  • Specialist

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  • Brice Giffard

  • Hervé Jactel

  • Emmanuel Corcket

  • Luc Barbaro

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