, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 531-539

Impacts of weeping lovegrass (Eragrostis curvula) invasion on native grasshoppers: responses of habitat generalist and specialist species

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Abstract

We investigated invasion impacts of a grass species (Eragrostis curvula) on native grasshoppers by periodic censuses of these insects on gravelly floodplains of the Kinu River, Japan. Our hypothesis was that there are greater impacts on natives when they are habitat specialists, as opposed to habitat generalists. The study area comprised two main habitat types: gravelly areas and riparian grasslands. Among 12 grasshopper species identified, five were more abundant in one of the habitat types and all of them were significantly negatively affected by coverage of weeping lovegrass, whereas seven occurred at the both habitat types simultaneously and a significantly smaller portion of species (two of the seven) was negatively affected by the alien plants. The results suggest that habitat specificity is related to the grasshopper species’ sensitivity to the plant, indicating that habitat specialist herbivores living on open gravelly floodplains are likely highly vulnerable to this plant invasion.