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Effects of Host Switching on Gypsy Moth (Lymantria dispar (L.)) under Field Conditions

J. L. Stoyenoff, J. A. Witter, M. E. Montgomery and C. A. Chilcote
Oecologia
Vol. 97, No. 2 (1994), pp. 143-157
Published by: Springer in cooperation with International Association for Ecology
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4220599
Page Count: 15
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Effects of Host Switching on Gypsy Moth (Lymantria dispar (L.)) under Field Conditions
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Abstract

Effects of various single and two species diets on the performance of gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar (L.)) were studied when this insect was reared from hatch to pupation on intact host trees in the field. The tree species used for this study were red oak (Quercus rubra L.), white oak (Q. alba L.), bigtooth aspen (Populus grandidentata Michaux), and trembling aspen (P. tremuloides Michaux). These are commonly available host trees in the Lake States region. The study spanned two years and was performed at two different field sites in central Michigan. Conclusions drawn from this study include: (1) Large differences in gypsy moth growth and survival can occur even among diet sequences composed of favorable host species. (2) Larvae that spent their first two weeks feeding on red oak performed better during this time period than larvae on all other host species in terms of mean weight, mean relative growth rate (RGR), and mean level of larval development, while larvae on a first host of bigtooth aspen were ranked lowest in terms of mean weight, RGR, and level of larval development. (3) Combination diets do not seem to be inherently better or worse than diets composed of only a single species; rather, insect performance was affected by the types of host species eaten and the time during larval development that these host species were consumed instead of whether larvae ate single species diets or mixed species diets. (4) In diets composed of two host species, measures of gypsy moth performance are affected to different extents in the latter part of the season by the two different hosts; larval weights and development rates show continued effects of the first host fed upon while RGRs, mortality, and pupal weights are affected strongly by the second host type eaten. (5) Of the diets investigated in this study, early feeding on red oak followed by later feeding on an aspen, particularly trembling aspen, is most beneficial to insects in terms of attaining high levels of performance throughout their lives.

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