Delayed induced resistance and increase in leaf fluctuating asymmetry as responses of Salix borealis to insect herbivory
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- Zvereva, E., Kozlov, M., Niemelä, P. et al. Oecologia (1997) 109: 368. doi:10.1007/s004420050095
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An outbreak of leaf beetle Melasoma lapponica in two localities around the Severonikel smelter in Kola Peninsula, north-west Russia, resulted in severe defoliation of Salix borealis, observed for the first time in August 1993 and then again in 1994 and 1995. Before the first severe defoliation, in July 1993, performance of M. lapponica larvae in plots with a high beetle density was either better or the same as in low-density plots. However, in 1994 and 1995, the years following severe willow defoliation in high-density plots, M. lapponica performance (in terms of survival, developmental time and beetle weight) decreased with increasing beetle density. Retarded larval growth in high-density plots was related to a decreased consumption rate, whereas the efficiency of the conversion of ingested food was similar in high- and low-density plots. These results indicate that defoliation triggered delayed induced resistance in S. borealis. Leaf fluctuating asymmetry (FA, a non-specific stress indicator) of this willow species in 1992 was similar in low- and high-density plots, but it increased in high-density plots in 1994, at the same time that detrimental effects on beetle performance were recorded at these sites. Plot-specific indices of beetle performance and FA were negatively correlated both in 1994 and 1995, suggesting that plants stressed by defoliation the previous-year were less favourable for leaf beetles.