, Volume 113, Issue 3, pp 400-405

The influence of salt and nitrogen on herbivore abundance: direct and indirect effects

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We report on the influence of experimentally increased interstitial salinity and plant nitrogen on the abundance of the delphacid planthopper, Prokelisia marginata (Van Duzee) (Homoptera: Delphacidae), which feeds on salt marsh cordgrass, Spartina alterniflora. We also report the effects of these treatments on parasitism of P. marginata eggs by the fairyfly parasitoid, Anagrus sophiae (Hymenoptera: Mymaridae). Soil salinity was significantly elevated following the addition of salt pellets broadcast over the ground and plant foliar nitrogen was significantly increased after the addition of fertilizer. The addition of fertilizer increased P. marginata densities on Spartina but addition of salt did not. Neither treatment significantly affected levels of egg parasitism by A. sophiae. In this system direct effects of plants on their herbivores via changes in plant chemistry appear more important than indirect effects of plants on herbivores via their natural enemies.

Received: 1 August 1997 / Accepted: 29 September 1997