Effects of food quality, particularly nitrogen concentrations, of Eucalyptus blakelyi foliage on the growth of Paropsis atomaria larvae (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae)
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- Ohmart, C.P., Stewart, L.G. & Thomas, J.R. Oecologia (1985) 65: 543. doi:10.1007/BF00379670
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Five groups of E. blakelyi seedlings were differentially fertilized to obtain a range of N concentrations from 0.8–3.0% dry wt in the foliage. Groups of P. atomaria larvae were reared from eclosion to the prepupal stage on these seedlings. The effects on larval growth and development caused by foliar concentrations of N, moisture content, and tannins and leaf toughness were measured. Pupal dry weight and development time of P. atomaria did not differ between those reared on foliage with N levels of 1.7–3.0% but there was a significant decrease in pupal weight and increase in development time for individuals fed foliage with N below this level. Larvae fed foliage with an average of 0.8% N died before reaching instar III. Total dry matter consumption increased with a decrease in N concentration. Larval nitrogen utilization efficiency increased as foliar N level decreased until N reached a level somewhere between 1.7%–1.2% below which it decreased. There appeared to be an N concentration threshold above which P. atomaria larvae received adequate N by regulating consumption and nitrogen utilization efficiency but below which they could no longer accumulate enough N by compensation to maintain an optimum growth rate and development time. Effects of food quality variables on relative growth and consumption rates are presented and discussed.