Insect herbivory on mangrove leaves in North Queensland*


  • *

    Contribution No. 346 from the Australian Institute of Marine Science.


Estimates of leaf damage by insect herbivores are presented for 25 species of mangrove plants, comprising canopy and understorey species. Leaf area loss was highly variable among the species sampled, with means ranging from 0.3 to 35.0% of expanded leaf area. There was also great variability amongst leaves within species, and the mean coefficient of variation for leaf loss from the 25 species was 266%. Of the 12 species sampled at more than one site in North Queensland, eight exhibited small, but significant, between-site differences in herbivory. In general, it did not appear that height in the canopy influenced herbivory. For the dominant mangrove forest community type at Missionary Bay, an estimated mean of 2.1% of leaf production, or 11 g m-2 per year, entered the direct grazing pathway. This very low figure is compared with estimates from other studies on mangrove forests and estimates from a variety of Australian terrestrial forests.