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Environ Entomol. 2016 Feb;45(1):163-70.

Quantitative Analysis of Plant Consumption and Preference by Oedaleus asiaticus (Acrididae: Oedipodinae) in Changed Plant Communities Consisting of Three Grass Species.


We used Oedaleus asiaticus Bey-Bienko (Acrididae: Oedipodinae) as a model species to examine how plant community composition influenced grasshopper population densities and feeding habits. Our results show that in the Xinli Gol Grassland ecosystem, both plant community composition and grasshopper density vary considerably over fairly small distances, and that O. asiaticus density was directly related to the proportional abundance of specific plant species. A 60-d field-cage study showed that O. asiaticus food preference and consumption differed when the ratios of three dominant grass species (Leymus chinensis (Trin.) Tzvel, Stipa krylovii Roshev, and Cleistogenes squarrosa (Trin.) Keng) differed. The consumption of both S. krylovii and C. squarrosa increased with a corresponding increase in their respective biomass availability. Although O. asiaticus preferred S. krylovii and ate only small amounts of L. chinensis, a specific amount of L. chinensis was always consumed. Feeding of these three plant species could be divided into three levels based on diet selectivity index (SI), with O. asiaticus showing a strong preference for S. krylovii (SI > 1), over that for C. squarrosa (0.5 < SI ≤ 1), and a low acceptance for L. chinensis (0 < SI ≤ 0.5). Plant consumption and preference by O. asiaticus was in decreasing order S. krylovii>C. squarrosa>L. chinensis. This study shows that small-scale changes in plant community composition can have large affects on grasshopper diets and populations. As such, this study is useful for developing guidelines for the monitoring of O. asiaticus impacts against the background of vegetation succession and changing plant communities in response to grazing or human activities.

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