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Ecological Section

Danderson, Clark [1], Molano-Flores, Brenda [2].

The Effect of Coleotechnites eryngiella Bottimer [Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae] on Aspects of the Reproductive Biology of Eryngium yuccifolium Michaux [Apiaceae].

Numerous studies have examined the direct and indirect effects of floral herbivory on the reproductive success across various taxa. Floral herbivory has been demonstrated to negatively affect reproductive success directly by removing or damaging the female reproductive structures. Studies have shown that some plants can compensate for such damage by shifting resources to undamaged ovaries in later developing flowers or inflorescences (i.e. reserve-ovary model). Coleotechnites eryngiella is a gelechiid moth whose larvae feed upon the developing ovaries of a tallgrass prairie forb, Eryngium yuccifolium. Eryngium yuccifolium flowers sequentially meaning that the central inflorescence head opens first then is followed by the primary lateral heads and finally the secondary lateral heads. Central, primary lateral and secondary lateral inflorescences were collected to determine whether the larvae had a preference on the inflorescence level and if damage done to the flowers in earlier developing inflorescences would be compensated for in later developing inflorescences. The proportions of the mericarps with herbivory and with well-developed seeds were calculated for each inflorescence head. Results showed that Coleotechnites eryngiella does extensive damage to the central and primary lateral inflorescence heads and little or no damage to the secondary lateral inflorescence heads. Also when the central and primary lateral inflorescence heads showed extensive damage, the secondary lateral heads did not increase their seed production. These results suggest that Eryngium yuccifolium does not compensate for early damage by increasing seed production in later inflorescences as predicted by the reserve-ovary model. Results from this study also indicated that herbivory levels fluctuate between years at the study sites indicating that Coleotechnites eryngiella may be susceptible to burn management used to maintain tallgrass prairie habitat.

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1 - University of Illinois Urbana, Department of Plant Biology, 265 Morrill Hall, 505 South Goodwin Avenue, Urbana, Illinois, 61801-3707, USA
2 - Illinois Natural History Survey, Center For Wildlife & Plant Ecology, 607 East Peabody Drive, Champaign, Illinois, 61820, USA

Eryngium yuccifolium
Coleotechnites eryngiella
reserve-ovary model

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: 43-2
Location: Salon F - Austin Grand Ballroom/Hilton
Date: Wednesday, August 17th, 2005
Time: 8:15 AM
Abstract ID:204

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