Aspen Bibliography


Effects of phytochemical variation in quaking aspen Populus tremuloides clones on gypsy moth Lymantria dispar performance in the field and laboratory

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Ecological Entomology





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This study investigated how phytochemical variation among clones of quaking aspen Populus tremuloides, growing in a common habitat, affects the growth and fecundity of a model herbivore.

Gypsy moth Lymantria dispar larvae were reared from egg hatch to pupation on 10 aspen clones in the field or on excised foliage in the laboratory. Foliage was collected from each clone, and concentrations of phenolic glycosides, condensed tannins, nitrogen, and water were determined.

Herbivore fitness parameters and aspen phytochemical concentrations varied significantly among clones. In both the field and laboratory, larve reared on clones containing high concentrations of phenolic glycosides exhibited prolonged developmental times and reduced pupal weights and fecundity. Herbivore performance parameters were also related positively to foliar nitrogen concentrations in the laboratory. Food consumption, but neither growth nor reproductive parameters, were related positively to condensed tannin concentrations.

In this study foliar concentrations of phenolic glycosides were implicated as a significant determinant of food quality for gypsy moths, consistent with results of previous laboratory experiments. Additionally, this study documents a case in which host plant variation at a local level influences the performance and possibly the distribution and abundance of an important herbivore.