, Volume 78, Issue 2, pp 214–219 | Cite as

Facilitative interactions between two lepidopteran herbivores of Asimina

  • Hans Damman
Original Papers


Insect herbivores that require young foliage for successful larval development are often restricted to a single generation during a year by the scarcity of suitable food over most of the growing season. The major specialist herbivore attacking shrubs in the genus Asimina in Florida, Eurytides marcellus, requires young foliage for successful larval development. Field manipulations were used to investigate the role of the young foliage produced by Asimina in response to defoliation by the late-season feeder Omphalocera munroei, a second specialist herbivore of Asimina in Florida, in maintaining Eurytides populations during the summer months when young foliage is otherwise scarce. Defoliation by Omphalocera proved to be the major inducer of young growth during the summer because Omphalocera defoliated Asimina shrubs so frequently and severely. When compared to young leaves produced in the absence of damage, the teaves produced by Asimina in response to defoliation were equally as suitable as food for Eurytides larvae and as acceptable as oviposition sites by Eurytides females. The availability of young foliage in an Asimina population was correlated with the size of the associated Eurytides population. The combination of regular, severe defoliation by Omphalocera and lack of a defensive response to damage by Asimina lead to a positive affect of Omphalocera on Eurytides population size, and may be central to other facilitative interactions between herbivores as well.

Key words

Asimina Facilitation Defoliation Herbivory Lepidoptera 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hans Damman
    • 1
  1. 1.Section of Ecology and SystematicsCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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