The performance of the leaf mining microlepidopteran Bucculatrix maritima (Stt.) on the salt marsh halophyte, Aster tripolium (L.), exposed to different salinity conditions
- 1) Delta Institute for Hydrobiological Research, Vierstraat 28, 4401 EA, Yerseke, The Netherlands
The performance of phytophagous insects is influenced by the nutritional quality of the food plant, which may vary with environmental conditions. Hardly any information exists on food-plant mediated effects of variable soil salinity on the performance of phytophagous insects. Conspicuous differences in salinity levels, however, are found in soils of intertidal wetlands such as salt marshes and mangroves. The growth of larvae of Bucculatrix maritima, a leaf miner of the salt marsh halophyte Aster tripolium, was studied on the host plant along the salinity gradient of the Westerschelde estuary (S.W. Netherlands). In addition, its performance on A. tripolium grown on low or high salinity culture medium was investigated experimentally. Although salinity conditions significantly influenced the chemistry of the host plants, insect performance seemed almost unaffected, although near the mouth of the estuary high environmental salinities may have caused some inhibition of larval growth. The results contrast with our previous studies on the stem-borer Agapanthia villosoviridescens, which showed that growth and development was conspicuously influenced by the changing characteristics of Aster tripolium along the estuarine salinity gradient. The location-dependent qualities of halophytes in an estuary thus appear to have species-specific effects on insect performance. We hypothesize that this phenomenon contributes to the existence of non-identical distribution patterns of phytophagous insects associated with the same halophyte in an estuary.
- 1 - sciences appliquees, technologies et medecines
- 2 - sciences biologiques et medicales
- 3 - sciences biologiques fondamentales et appliquees. psychologie
- 4 - ecologie animale, vegetale et microbienne
- 1 - Life Sciences ; 2 - Agricultural and Biological Sciences ; 3 - Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics