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Plant module size and attack by the goldenrod spindle-gall moth

  • Stephen B. Heard (a1) and Graham H. Cox (a1)

Larvae of the gall-inducing moth Gnorimoschema gallaesolidaginis (Riley) (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) attack ramets of Solidago altissima L. and S. gigantea Aiton (Asteraceae), initiating stem galls early in ramet growth. We examined the relationship between ramet size (as an indicator of plant vigour) and galling rate over 3 years at a field site in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. We marked Solidago ramets along line transects, measured their stem diameter, and recorded their fate (galled or ungalled) during the season. For S. altissima, galls were numerous enough for analysis in 2 years, and the frequency of galling increased monotonically with ramet stem diameter in both years. For S. gigantea, galls were numerous enough for analysis in all 3 years, but attack rate - stem diameter relationships were complex. In 2004 the galling frequency peaked at intermediate stem diameter, but in 2005 the galling frequency increased monotonically with stem diameter (and in 2006 the nonsignificant trend was similar). Overall, our data are most consistent with the plant-vigour hypothesis, but the 2004 data for S. gigantea lend some support to the suggestion that herbivore attack might sometimes be most intense on intermediate-sized modules.


Les larves du papillon de nuit gallicole Gnorimoschema gallaesolidaginis (Riley) (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) attaquent les ramilles de Solidago altissima L. et de S. gigantea Aiton (Asteraceae), ce qui provoque la formation de galles sur la tige tôt dans la croissance des ramilles. Nous avons examiné la relation entre la taille de la ramille (comme indicateur de la vigueur de la plante) et le taux de formation des galles pendant trois années à un site de terrain de Toronto, Canada. Nous avons marqué des ramilles de Solidago le long de lignes de transect, mesuré le diamètre des tiges et déterminé leur sort (avec ou sans galles) au cours de la saison. Chez S. altissima, les galles étaient assez abondantes durant deux des années pour permettre l’analyse; la fréquence de formation des galles s’est accrue de façon monotone en fonction du diamètre des tiges pendant les deux années. Chez S. gigantea, les galles étaient assez abondantes durant les trois années, mais les relations entre le taux d’attaque et le diamètre de la tige étaient complexes. En 2004, le taux de formation des galles a atteint un maximum aux tailles intermédiaires des tiges, mais en 2005 le taux de formation de galles a augmenté de manière monotone en fonction du diamètre de la tige (et en 2006 la tendance était semblable mais non significative). Dans leur ensemble, nos données s’accordent avec l’hypothèse de la vigueur de la plante; cependant, les données de 2004 chez S. gigantea apportent un certain appui aux propositions selon lesquelles l’attaque des herbivores peut quelquefois être plus intense sur les modules de taille intermédiaire.

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The Canadian Entomologist
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