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Pre-dispersal seed predation of bayberry Myrica rubra by Thiotricha pancratiastis (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) on Yakushima Island, Japan


Mariko Fujita, Insect Science Laboratory, Graduate School of Agricultural Science, Kobe University, 1-1 Rokkoudai-cho, Nada-ku, Kobe 657-8501, Japan.


We investigated pre-dispersal seed predation by insects in a bayberry Myrica rubra Sieb. et Zucc. (Myricaceae) on Yakushima Island, Japan. To clarify the patterns of seed fate and predation, all fruit that fell into seed traps were collected to allow any insect larvae within the fruit to emerge, and the fruit were finally dissected to determine whether or not they had been attacked by insect predators. Two lepidopteran species, Thiotricha pancratiastis (Meyrick) (Gelechiidae) and Neoblastobasis spiniharpella Kuznetzov & Sinev (Blastobasidae), emerged from the fruits. Thiotricha pancratiastis is the major seed predator of M. rubra, attacking the fruits intensively during the primary stage of fruit development. Thiotricha pancratiastis had been known as a foliage feeder (leaf miner) of M. rubra, but we revealed that the insect is also an important seed predator of the bayberry.