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Oecologia. 2007 Jul;152(4):665-75. Epub 2007 Mar 21.

Leafhopper-induced plant resistance enhances predation risk in a phytophagous beetle.

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  • 1Department of Entomology, University of Maryland, 4112 Plant Sciences Building, College Park, MD 20742, USA. ikaplan@umd.edu


Many herbivores elicit biochemical, physiological, or morphological changes in their host plants that render them more resistant to co-occurring herbivores. Yet, despite the large number of studies that investigate how induced resistance affects herbivore preference and performance, very few have simultaneously explored the cascading effects of induction on higher trophic levels and consequences for prey suppression. In our study system, early-season herbivory by leafhoppers elevated plant resistance to subsequent attack by chrysomelid beetles sharing the same host plant. Notably, beetles feeding on leafhopper-damaged plants incurred developmental penalties (e.g., prolonged time in early larval instars) that rendered them more susceptible to predation by natural enemies. As a result, the combined bottom-up effect of leafhopper-induced resistance and the top-down effect of enhanced predation resulted in the synergistic suppression of beetle populations. These results emphasize that higher trophic level dynamics should be considered in conjunction with induced resistance to better understand how plants mediate interspecific interactions in phytophagous insect communities.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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