Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Influence of native and alien Prunus species and light conditions on performance of the leaf beetle Gonioctena quinquepunctata.

Abstract

The polyphagous beetle Gonioctena quinquepunctata Fabricius (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) is a serious leaf pest of the native European bird cherry, Prunus padus L., and the invasive alien black cherry, Prunus serotina Ehrh. (Rosaceae). In the shade, leaf damage is extensive in both species, whereas in full light, it is extensive in P. padus, but very low in P. serotina. We determined the influence of Prunus species and light conditions on differences in performance of both sexes of this folivore. In a laboratory experiment in which larvae were fed with leaves of a single species grown under particular light conditions, we measured larval, pupal, and adult mass, efficiency of conversion of ingested food (ECI), duration of development, total food eaten, and relative growth rate. In the field, we observed differences in beetle mass on shrubs of the two species growing under various light conditions. From the field observations, we hypothesised that leaves of the invasive P. serotina are not an equally good food source as leaves of P. padus for G. quinquepunctata, and the preference of these beetles for shaded shrubs is most favourable for their growth and development. Under laboratory conditions, we found that the beetle growth rate was not affected significantly by Prunus species or light conditions, despite the significant effect of light condition on the structure and chemical composition of Prunus seedlings. The lower ECI value for larvae feeding on sunlit leaves was compensated for by their higher level of consumption. In the field, adult insect mass was higher on P. padus than on P. serotina, and higher on sunlit shrubs of both species than on shaded ones. Under natural conditions, the mass of adult insects is probably also affected by other factors, such as predators and competition among folivores.