, Volume 59, Issue 2-3, pp 226-231

Induced responses of cherry trees to periodical cicada oviposition

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Cherry trees (Prunus serotina) responded to oviposition by periodical cicadas (Magicicada spp.) by depositing gum at the egg nest. The proportion of cicada eggs that hatched successfully was significantly reduced at egg nests with visible gum compared to non-gummed egg nests. The number of egg nests with gum increased in proportion to the total number of egg nests on a tree. The probability of an egg nest having visible gum increased as the total number of egg nests increased. Mortality at hatching due to gum deposition increased as a direct density-dependent function of the number of cicada eggs laid in the tree. Although statistically significant, this relationship was weak and appeared to hold only at densities above 100 egg nests per tree.

Gum deposition is discussed as an induced plant response to cicada attack. A cherry may reduce the number of cicada nymphs that will parasitize it up to the next oviposition period (17 or 13 years later) by reducing cicada hatching through gum deposition at the site of oviposition.