Intraplant variability in host suitability may be an important factor limiting the area of damage inflicted by insect herbivores. Although oviposition patterns over a plant depends on a number of factors, including insect density, host plant preference and plant age, size and condition, under standardized environmental conditions, the distribution of eggs over a plant can be used as an indicator of tissue suitability for adult females. Liriomyza hiodobrensis (Blanchard) is a polyphagous leafmining fly that feeds within numerous families including economically important vegetable and ornamental plants. The distribution of eggs over entire plants was recorded for 6 vegetable hosts of L. huidobrensis, under standardized conditions. The number of feeding and oviposition stipples on upper and lower leaf surfaces for all leaves on each plant were recorded by staining all plant material and visually counting eggs and stipples under a microscope. In a similar experiment, egg viability was recorded by staining leaves from plants that had been exposed to flies following a short oviposition exposure period and counting the number of eggs and mines on each leaf 6 days following exposure. Host plants differed in terms of the pattern of egg deposition over the whole plant, the proportion of eggs laid on upper and lower leaf surfaces and egg viability. The results have implications for sampling protocols in preference tests that use a sample of tissue to represent relative preference since the proportion of eggs on a given sample depends on the pattern of egg distribution over the whole plant.
Species 1: Diptera Agromyzidae Liriomyza huidobrensis (pea leafminer)
Keywords: host plant choice
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