Insect Herbivory of Ovules and Seeds in Native and Restored Prairies


  • Brenda Molano-Flores

    Corresponding author
    1. Illinois Natural History Survey, 1816 South Oak Street, Champaign, IL 61820, U.S.A.
      Address correspondence to Brenda Molano-Flores, email
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Address correspondence to Brenda Molano-Flores, email


Insect herbivory of ovules and seeds is known to have a negative impact on individual plant reproductive success by reducing overall seed set. Although this seed set reduction has been well documented in plant populations found in native habitats, little work has been done on populations found in restored habitats. In a 4-year study (2001–2004), I investigated the herbivory of the Gelechiid moth (Coleotechnites eryngiella) of Eryngium yuccifolium populations in native and restored prairies. Data were collected from 20 E. yuccifolium populations (10 native prairies/10 restored prairies) in Illinois. Percent herbivory and percent seed set were determined for each population. From 2001 to 2004, percent herbivory in prairie restorations ranged from 0 to 93 and percent seed set ranged from 2 to 82. In native prairies, percent herbivory ranged from 0 to 98 and percent seed set ranged from 0 to 71. No differences were found between native and restored prairies for percent herbivory or percent seed set. However, significant differences were found among years for percent seed set. This study shows that the antagonistic effects of insect herbivory can reach similar levels in restored and native prairies.