Association Between Leaf Beetles and Meadow Goldenrods (Solidago spp.) in Central New York

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Annals of the Entomological Society of America



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The chrysomelid fauna associated with meadow goldenrods (Solidago spp.) in central New York is composed of 9 specialists (species that feed only on goldenrods and asters), 4 generalists, and 7 “incidentals.” This diverse fauna of goldenrod feeders is the outcome of independent evolution in several taxa. The food habits, seasonal abundance, and life histories of the common beetles in the association are described. Two specialists, Trirhabda virgata LeConte and T. borealis Blake, account for 86% of all beetles collected in weekly samples taken over 3 growing seasons. Ovipositing Ophraella conferta (LeConte) and Microrhopala vittata (Fabr.) discriminate against s. graminifolia, but use other goldenrods (S. altissima, S. gigantea, S. juncea, and S. rugosa) nonpreferentially. The unique phenology and growth form of S. juncea may prevent it from being more fully utilized by Exema canadensis Pierce. During the 3-yr study, densities of T. virgata, T. borealis, and O. conferta increased, while those of Nodonota margaretae Schultz and Paria thoracica (Melsheimer) declined.

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