Deer predation on leaf miners via leaf abscission
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- Yamazaki, K. & Sugiura, S. Naturwissenschaften (2008) 95: 263. doi:10.1007/s00114-007-0318-z
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The evergreen oak Quercus gilva Blume sheds leaves containing mines of the leaf miner Stigmella sp. (Lepidoptera: Nepticulidae) earlier than leaves with no mines in early spring in Nara, central Japan. The eclosion rates of the leaf miner in abscised and retained leaves were compared in the laboratory to clarify the effects of leaf abscission on leaf miner survival in the absence of deer. The leaf miner eclosed successfully from both fallen leaves and leaves retained on trees. However, sika deer (Cervus nippon centralis Kishida) feed on the fallen mined leaves. Field observations showed that deer consume many fallen leaves under Q. gilva trees, suggesting considerable mortality of leaf miners due to deer predation via leaf abscission. This is a previously unreported relationship between a leaf miner and a mammalian herbivore via leaf abscission.