Arthropod-Plant Interactions

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 9–19 | Cite as

Leaf shape variation and herbivore consumption and performance: a case study with Ipomoea hederacea and three generalists

  • Brandon E. Campitelli
  • Anna K. Simonsen
  • Andrea Rico Wolf
  • Jessamyn S. Manson
  • John R. Stinchcombe
Original Paper


The effect of leaf shape variation on plant-herbivore interactions has primarily been studied from the perspective of host seeking behavior. Yet for leaf shape to affect plant-herbivore coevolution, there must be reciprocal effects of leaf shape variation on herbivore consumption and performance. We investigated whether alternative leaf morphs affected the performance of three generalist insect herbivores by taking advantage of a genetic polymorphism and developmental plasticity in leaf shape in the Ivyleaf morning glory, Ipomoea hederacea. Across four experiments, we found variable support for an effect of leaf shape genotype on insects. For cabbage loopers (Trichoplusia ni) and corn earworms (Helicoverpa zea) we found opposing, non-significant trends: T. ni gained more biomass on lobed genotypes, while H. zea gained more biomass on heart-shaped genotypes. For army beetworms (Spodoptera exigua), the effects of leaf shape genotype differed depending on the age of the plants and photoperiod of growing conditions. Caterpillars feeding on tissue from older plants (95 days) grown under long day photoperiods had significantly greater consumption, dry biomass, and digestive efficiency on lobed genotypes. In contrast, there were no significant differences between heart-shaped and lobed genotypes for caterpillars feeding on tissue from younger plants (50 days) grown under short day photoperiods. For plants grown under short days, we found that S. exigua consumed significantly less leaf area when feeding on mature leaves than juvenile leaves, regardless of leaf shape genotype. Taken together, our results suggest that the effects of leaf shape variation on insect performance are likely to vary between insect species, growth conditions of the plant, and the developmental stage and age of leaves sampled.


Leaf shape polymorphism Herbivory Coevolution Ipomoea hederacea Resistance Digestive efficiency Spodoptera exigua Trichoplusia ni Helicoverpa zea 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brandon E. Campitelli
    • 1
  • Anna K. Simonsen
    • 1
  • Andrea Rico Wolf
    • 1
  • Jessamyn S. Manson
    • 1
  • John R. Stinchcombe
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Ecology & Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and Centre for the Analysis of Genome Evolution and FunctionUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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