Eur. J. Entomol. 111 (3): 371-378, 2014 | 10.14411/eje.2014.039

Preference and performance of the larvae of Lymantria dispar (Lepidoptera: Lymantriidae) on three species of European oaks

Slobodan MILANOVIĆ1,5, Jelica LAZAREVIĆ2, Zorica POPOVIĆ2, Zoran MILETIĆ3, Miroslav KOSTIĆ4, Zlatan RADULOVIĆ3, Dragan KARADŽIĆ5, Ana VULETA2
1 Department of Forest Protection and Wildlife Management, Faculty of Forestry and Wood Technology, Mendel University, Zemědělská 3, 613 00 Brno, Czech Republic; e-mail: slobodan.milanovic@mendelu.cz
2 Institute for Biological Research, University of Belgrade, Bulevar Despota Stefana 142, Belgrade 11000, Serbia; e-mails: jellaz@ibiss.bg.ac.rs; zorica.popovic@ibiss.bg.ac.rs; ana.vuleta@ibiss.bg.ac.rs
3 Institute of Forestry, Kneza Visešlava 3, Belgrade 11000, Serbia; e-mails: zoranmil@ptt.rs; zlatan.radulovic@gmail.com
4 Institute for Medicinal Plant Research, Tadeuša Košćuška 1, Belgrade 11000, Serbia; e-mail: mkostic@mocbilja.rs
5 University of Belgrade Faculty of Forestry, Kneza Višeslava 1, Belgrade 11000, Serbia; e-mails: slobodan.milanovic@sfb.bg.ac.rs; dragan.karadzic@sfb.bg.ac.rs

The gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar (L.) (Lepidoptera: Lymantriidae), causes enormous damage to broadleaved forests in the northern hemisphere where it frequently defoliates large areas of forest. Since outbreaks begin in oak forests, its most suitable habitat, we determined the preference and performance of gypsy moth larvae when reared on three species of native oaks: sessile oak, Quercus petraea (Matt.) Liebl.; Turkey oak, Q. cerris L.; and Hungarian oak, Q. frainetto (Ten.). Leaf expansion and selected physical and chemical characteristics of the oak leaves were also measured. The shortest development time and highest relative consumption (RCR), growth rate (RGR), assimilation efficiency (AD), efficiency of conversion of ingested food (ECI) and digested food into larval biomass (ECD) values were recorded when larvae were fed on Turkey oak. Two-choice tests revealed that Turkey oak is the preferred host plant. It had the highest total soluble protein and leaf nitrogen content, lowest C/N ratio and its phenology was well synchronized with the hatching of the larvae. The worst performance and lowest preference index were recorded when fed on Hungarian oak, the leaves of which had the lowest protein and nitrogen content, while in terms of the values for preference and performance the larvae fed on sessile oak were intermediate. Our results indicate that forests with Turkey oak are highly likely to be defoliated by gypsy moth larvae and therefore should be regularly monitored.

Keywords: Lepidoptera, Lymantriidae, Lymantria dispar, Quercus, herbivore-plant interactions, foliar chemistry, feeding preference, nutritional indices

Received: March 25, 2013; Accepted: January 29, 2014; Prepublished online: April 23, 2014; Published: July 14, 2014

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