Interactions between megaherbivores and microherbivores : elephant browsing reduces host plant quality for caterpillars

Show simple item record Hrabar, Halszka Du Toit, Johan T. 2014-06-11T08:31:34Z 2014-06-11T08:31:34Z 2014-01-21
dc.description.abstract Direct effects of herbivory, and indirect effects through induced responses to herbivory, can both influence the susceptibility of plants to subsequent attacks by herbivores. There has, however, been very little research (if any) to investigate how the large-scale effects of browsing by megaherbivores (.1000 kg body mass) on woody plants might influence the subsequent use of those plants by phytophagous insects. We conducted a field study in Kruger National Park, South Africa, to investigate whether browsing by elephants (Loxodonta africana) on mopane trees (Colophospermum mopane) had any influence on the subsequent selection of those trees by ovipositing mopane moths (Imbrasia belina). Our results showed that, after controlling for differences in canopy volume, the density of egg masses was almost halved in mopane woodlands recovering from severe elephant browsing in the previous season. This is despite the regrowth on heavily browsed trees having lower tannin:protein ratios and longer shoots. Our suggested explanation is that large monophagous caterpillars can only feed in the canopies of the trees in which they hatch and so the quantity of food in each canopy is more important than its quality. There are implications for the sustainable harvesting of mopane caterpillars, which represent an important food resource for rural communities in southern Africa. Future avenues for research include patch selection by large herbivores in response to local nutrient enrichment by frass deposited during caterpillar outbreaks. en
dc.description.librarian am2014 en
dc.description.librarian ab2014
dc.description.sponsorship The National Research Foundation (GUN 2053601 to J. T. du Toit). en
dc.description.uri en
dc.identifier.citation Hrabar, H., and J. T. du Toit. 2014. Interactions between megaherbivores and microherbivores: elephant browsing reduces host plant quality for caterpillars. Ecosphere 5(1):7. 10.1890/ES13-00173.1 en
dc.identifier.issn 2150-8925
dc.identifier.other 10.1890/ES13-00173.1
dc.language.iso en en
dc.publisher Ecological Society of America en
dc.rights © 2014 Hrabar and du Toit. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License en
dc.subject Colophospermum mopane en
dc.subject Herbivore-plant interactions en
dc.subject Host selection en
dc.subject Imbrasia belina en
dc.subject Southern Africa en
dc.subject.lcsh Herbivores en
dc.subject.lcsh Caterpillars en
dc.subject.lcsh African elephant en
dc.subject.lcsh Mopane moth en
dc.subject.lcsh Mopane tree en
dc.title Interactions between megaherbivores and microherbivores : elephant browsing reduces host plant quality for caterpillars en
dc.type Article en

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