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What limits the altitudinal distribution of Craspedolepta species (Sternorrhyncha: Psylloidea) on fireweed?

Authors


*Professor Ian D. Hodkinson, School of Biological and Earth Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Byrom Street, Liverpool L3 3AF, U.K. E-mail: i.d.hodkinson@livjm.ac.uk

Abstract

Abstract.  1. Craspedolepta nebulosa and C. subpunctata were studied on their shared host plant Epilobium angustifolium along an altitudinal transect in the Hardangervidda area of southern Norway.

2. The following was investigated: whether (a) the altitudinal distribution and abundance of each psyllid species was determined by summer heat budgets, acting directly on rates of insect development and/or through their host plant and (b) whether parasitism, predation, and interspecific competition played any role in restricting the distribution of the two species.

3. Craspedolepta nebulosa extended to higher elevations than C. subpunctata but within their ranges neither species showed a clear altitudinal trend in abundance per plant. However, the former species grew to a smaller size with increasing elevation.

4. There was little evidence for interspecific competitive effects and observed levels of parasitism and predation were negligible across the transect.

5. Development and distribution of both species mirrored significant differences in the phenology, size, leaf number, and reproductive output of E. angustifolium with increasing altitude.

6. Distributions were related to available heat budgets acting on psyllid/plant development rates, with C. nebulosa developing more efficiently at lower heat availability.

7. Population transplant experiments supported the overall conclusions, with neither psyllid species able to establish viable populations above their current upper altitudinal range limit, despite the presence of their host plant.

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