, Volume 135, Issue 2, pp 258–267

Host plant effects on parasitoid attack on the leaf beetle Chrysomela lapponica

Plant Animal Interactions


Larvae of the leaf beetle Chrysomela lapponica obtain salicyl glucosides (SGs) from the host plant to produce a defensive secretion with salicylaldehyde. In northern Russia, larvae and pupae experience high parasitism by the phorid fly Megaselia opacicornis and tachinid fly Cleonice nitidiuscula. We compared the suitability of the SG-rich Salix borealis and SG-poor S. caprea and S. phylicifolia to Ch. lapponica and tested whether enemy pressure on Ch. lapponica varies among host species that differ in SG content. In the laboratory, survival of Ch. lapponica larvae was higher on S. borealis than on S. caprea and S. phylicifolia, while adult body mass was higher on S. borealis and S. caprea than on S. phylicifolia. In the field, parasitism by both M. opacicornis and Cl. nitidiuscula was greater on beetles from S. borealis than from the SG-poor S. caprea or S. phylicifolia. In a laboratory choice test, the pupal parasitoid M. opacicornis laid similar numbers of eggs on beetles reared on SG-rich and SG-poor willows, suggesting that the host plant-derived defence is not effective against this parasitoid. In a field enemy-exclusion experiment, beetle survival was greatly enhanced by the exclusion of enemies, but survival rates did not differ between S. borealis and S. caprea, although larvae developed faster on S. borealis. On the other hand, parasitism and predation were observed more often on S. borealis than on S. caprea. Thus, beetle larvae perform better but also suffer higher predation and parasitism on S. borealis than on SG-poor willows. Ch. lapponica does not appear to obtain enemy-free space by feeding on SG-rich willow species.


Three trophic-level interactions Larval defensive secretion Salicyl glucosides Enemy-free space 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Section of Ecology, Department of BiologyUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland
  2. 2.Department of BiologySonoma State UniversityUSA

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