INBREEDING ALTERS RESISTANCE TO INSECT HERBIVORY AND HOST PLANT QUALITY IN MIMULUS GUTTATUS (SCROPHULARIACEAE)
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Previous studies have demonstrated genetic variation for resistance to insect herbivores and host plant quality. The effect of plant mating system, an important determinant of the distribution of genetic variation, on host plant characteristics has received almost no attention. This study used a controlled greenhouse experiment to examine the effect of self- and cross-pollination in Mimulus guttatus (Scrophulariaceae) on resistance to and host plant quality for the xylem-feeding spittlebug Philaenus spumarius (Homoptera: Cercopidae). Spittlebugs were found to have a negative effect on two important fitness components in M. guttatus, flower production and above ground biomass. One of two M. guttatus populations examined showed a significant interaction between the pollination and herbivore treatments. In this case, the detrimental effects of herbivores on biomass and flower production were much more pronounced in inbred (self) plants. The presence of spittlebug nymphs increased inbreeding depression by as much as three times. Pollination treatments also had significant effects on important components of herbivore fitness, but these effects were in opposite directions in our two host plant populations. Spittlebug nymphs maturing on self plants emerged as significantly larger adults in one of our host plant populations, indicating that inbreeding increased host plant quality. In our second host plant population, spittlebug nymphs took significantly longer to develop to adulthood on self plants, indicating that inbreeding decreased host plant quality. Taken together these results suggest that the degree of inbreeding in host plant populations can have important and perhaps complex effects on the dynamics of plant-herbivore interactions and on mating-system evolution in the host.
author list (cited authors)
Carr, D. E., & Eubanks, M. D.