Ecosystem consequences of selective feeding of an insect herbivore: palatability–decomposability relationship revisited
Article first published online: 18 NOV 2011
© 2011 The Authors. Ecological Entomology © 2011 The Royal Entomological Society
Volume 36, Issue 6, pages 768–775, December 2011
How to Cite
KAGATA, H. and OHGUSHI, T. (2011), Ecosystem consequences of selective feeding of an insect herbivore: palatability–decomposability relationship revisited. Ecological Entomology, 36: 768–775. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2311.2011.01327.x
- Issue published online: 18 NOV 2011
- Article first published online: 18 NOV 2011
- Accepted 3 October 2011
- host plant selection;
- Lymantria dispar;
- plant–insect interaction
1. The relationship between leaf palatability and litter decomposability is critical to understanding the effects of selective feeding by herbivores on decomposition processes, and several studies have reported that there is a positive relationship between them.
2. However, palatability is not always positively correlated with decomposability, because of species-specific feeding adaptation of herbivores to host plants. Moreover, the effects of selective feeding by herbivores on soil decomposition processes should be understood in terms of the inputs of leaf litter and excrement.
3. The present study examined the relationships between leaf palatability and the decomposability of litter and frass, using Lymantria dispar Linnaeus and 15 temperate deciduous tree species.
4. Larvae of L. dispar exhibited a clear feeding preference, and subsequently the excreted frass mass differed among tree species. Litter and frass decomposability also differed among tree species, and frass was more rapidly decomposed than litter. There were no positive or negative correlations between palatability and decomposability of litter and frass.
5. These results indicate that L. dispar larvae may accelerate the decomposition process in temperate deciduous forests through selective feeding on plants with relatively low litter decomposability and the production of frass with higher decomposability than the litter.