Carbon dioxide-induced changes in beech foliage cause female beech weevil larvae to feed in a compensatory manner


M. Docherty, Fax: +44/ (0)1524 843854, email


The phenology of Fagus sylvatica was unaffected by exposure to an atmosphere of elevated CO2 (600 μL L-1) after two years of fumigation. Non-significant changes in nitrogen and phenolic content of the leaves decreased the nutritional status of beech for female larvae in elevated CO2 such that they responded by eating in a compensatory manner; males were unaffected. Rates of development, mortality and adult biomass of Rhynchaenus fagi were no different from those in ambient CO2 concentrations (355 μL L -1). It is possible that, with the changes in leaf chemistry affecting the females, fecundity will be altered, with important consequences for populations of beech weevil.