Oecologia

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 22–31 | Cite as

Feeding patterns of monophagous, oligophagous, and polyphagous insect herbivores: The effect of resource abundance and plant chemistry

  • Rex G. Cates
Article

Summary

Leaf tissue preferences of monophagous, oligophagous, and polyphagous insect herbivores were determined using young and mature leaf tissue abundances and herbivore feeding observations. Larvae of monophagous and oligophagous herbivores preferred young leaf tissues while, overall, larvae of polyphagous species preferred mature leaves of their various host plants. Even though a species is often polyphagous over its geographical range, larvae from local populations may be very specialized in their diet. When this occurs these specialized larvae prefer the more nutritious and perhaps more toxic young leaves of some of their host plants. Resource abundance and plant chemistry are discussed as major factors influencing herbivore feeding patterns.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rex G. Cates
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyThe University of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA

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