Test of enemy release hypothesis with native and invasive genotypes of Phragmites australis
We performed a common garden experiment in Louisiana to examine the plant palatability and defenses between native and exotic genotypes of P. australis. Plant defense (leaf toughness), chewing damages caused by a generalist herbivore, fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda), and herbivore performance (change in weight biomass) were evaluated. Exotic plants produced tougher leaves than natives. Although survivorship rate of larvae did not differ between native and exotic genotypes, feeding damages and larval growth rates were substantially lower on exotic genotype than the native. These results suggest that escape from natural enemies may have contributed to the invasiveness of the Eurasian genotype in North America.
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