Competition between the gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar, and the northern tiger swallowtail, Papilio canadensis: interactions mediated by host plant chemistry, pathogens, and parasitoids
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The gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar, and the northern tiger swallowtail, Papilio canadensis, overlap geographically as well as in their host ranges. Adult female swallowtails are incapable of distinguishing between damaged and undamaged leaves, and the opportunities for competition between these two species are numerous. We designed field and laboratory experiments to look for evidence of indirect competition between P. canadensis and L. dispar larvae. Swallowtail caterpillars were reared in the laboratory on leaves from gypsy-moth-defoliated and undefoliated trees to explore host-plant effects. We tested for pathogen-mediated interactions by rearing swallowtail larvae on both sterilized and unsterilized leaves from defoliated and undefoliated sources. In addition, we measured the effects of known gypsy moth pathogens, as well as gypsy moth body fluids, on the growth and survival of swallowtail larvae. Field experiments were designed to detect the presence of parasitoid-mediated competition, as well: we recorded parasitism of swallowtail caterpillars placed in the field either where there were no gypsy moth larvae present, or where we had artificially created dense gypsy moth populations. We found evidence that swallowtails were negatively affected by gypsy moths in several ways: defoliation by gypsy moths depressed swallowtail growth rate and survival, whether leaves were sterilized or not; sterilization significantly reduced the effect of defoliation, and gypsy moth body fluids proved lethal; and swallowtail caterpillars suffered significantly increased rates of parasitism when they were placed in the field near gypsy moth infestations.
Key wordsCompetition Tritrophic interactions Papilo canadensis Lymantria dispar Gypsy moth
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