Oecologia

, Volume 111, Issue 2, pp 201–208

Effects of weevil larvae on acorn use by blue jays

  • Mark D. Dixon
  • W. Carter Johnson
  • Curtis S. Adkisson

DOI: 10.1007/s004420050226

Cite this article as:
Dixon, M., Johnson, W. & Adkisson, C. Oecologia (1997) 111: 201. doi:10.1007/s004420050226

Abstract

 Blue jays (Cyanocitta cristata L.) are important consumers and dispersers of the nuts of oaks and other fagaceous trees in eastern North America. Acorns compose much of the jay diet, especially during the autumn when jays may consume or cache a significant portion of an acorn crop. However, jays do not appear to possess physiological adaptations for countering the protein-binding properties of secondary compounds (tannins) found in acorns. We offered captive blue jays a mixture of infested and uninfested pin oak (Quercus palustris Muenchh.) acorns to see if the birds would selectively consume nuts containing weevil larvae (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) as a protein supplement to a high-tannin, all-acorn diet. Acorns were X-rayed to determine infestation status and then offered to individual jays in an outdoor aviary. Jays handled, opened, and consumed uninfested nuts significantly more often than infested nuts, and use of infested nuts did not increase during continued exposure to a high-tannin diet.

Key words Tri-trophic interactions Oaks Tannins Blue jay Weevils 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark D. Dixon
    • 1
  • W. Carter Johnson
    • 1
  • Curtis S. Adkisson
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Horticulture, Forestry, Landscape and Parks, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD 57007, USAUS
  2. 2.Department of Biology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USAUS