Arthropod-Plant Interactions

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 405–413 | Cite as

Aspen leaf miner (Phyllocnistis populiella) oviposition site selection mediated by aspen (Populus tremuloides) extrafloral nectaries

  • Russell Dennis
  • Patricia DoakEmail author
  • Diane Wagner
Original Paper


By impacting performance of individual offspring, oviposition site choice can have a large influence on female fitness; however, a female’s fitness is also impacted by her own survival and future reproductive potential. Factors influencing oviposition site selection include a female’s own predation risk and nutritional needs, as well as the performance of offspring. Trade-offs may occur when oviposition sites differ in their favorability for these fitness-related functions. Adults of the leaf-mining moth, Phyllocnistis populiella, forage at the extrafloral nectaries (EFNs) of quaking aspen, Populus tremuloides. Females are synovigenic and likely rely on adult nutrition for egg production; however, proximity to EFNs may be associated with reduced offspring survival. In a controlled experiment, when given the choice of oviposition on either a leaf with or without EFNs, P. populiella preferred leaves lacking EFNs. Seven years of field survey data revealed significantly higher oviposition and lower egg predation on leaves lacking EFNs. Aspen shoots with a higher proportion of leaves expressing EFNs experienced higher oviposition but no difference in egg predation. At the leaf level, eggs were overdispersed when at low to moderate densities, likely to decrease interference competition. Females mated multiply, and the acquisition of spermatophores through repeated matings may decrease P. populiella’s reliance on EF nectar for egg production. P. populiella appears to balance the trade-off between resource rich and high offspring performance sites by ovipositing in neighborhoods with a high proportion of leaves bearing EFNs, while preferring leaves lacking EFNs which experience lower egg predation.


Egg dispersion Egg load Extrafloral nectaries Preference–performance hypothesis Spermatophore 



Funding was provided by a National Science Foundation award (DEB 0543632) to DW and PD and by the 2010 Institute of Arctic Biology Graduate Student Summer Research Fellowship to RD. UAF Life Science Informatics provided computer and software support. We acknowledge those who assisted with data collection and compilation: B. Carlson, A. Cushing, S. Fischer, T. Fristoe, Z. Meyers, B. Parks, and S. Wilbur. D. Sikes provided comments on an earlier version of the manuscript.

Supplementary material

11829_2015_9380_MOESM1_ESM.docx (67 kb)
Figure S1 Total oviposition by Phyllocnistis populiella on Populus tremuloides leaves with (gray bars) and without (open bars) extrafloral nectaries (EFNs) leaves displayed by site and year. Points are backtransformed estimates (±1 SE) from the Poisson generalized linear mixed model (GLMM). (DOCX 66 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biology and WildlifeUniversity of Alaska FairbanksFairbanksUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Arctic BiologyUniversity of Alaska FairbanksFairbanksUSA

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