Cano-Santana, Zenon; Oyama, Ken
September 1994
Acta Botanica Mexicana;1994, Issue 28, p29
Academic Journal
Wigandia urens (Ruiz & Pavón) H.B.K. (Hydrophyllaceae) is a common shrub at the Pedregal de San Angel reserve in Mexico City. This species has a great morphological and chemical variation on leaves and stems. It is possible to recognize two types of leaves on plants of W. urens: smooth leaves with only glandular trichomes and bristly leaves with urticant hairs and glandular trichomes. The presence and density of trichomes vary according to leaf age and environmental heterogeneity. The great variation of plants of W. urens represents a mosaic of resources to herbivores associated to them. In this study, feeding preferences and patterns of establishment of the most common herbivores on plants of W. urens in the Pedregal de San Angel were studied. Field observations and acceptability experiments were performed. In this study, we found 14 species of herbivore insects belonging to five different orders (Dipteira, Hemiptera, Homoptera, Lepidoptera and Orthoptera). In general, all the species showed different degrees of specificity and preference for different parts of W. urens in the field. The experiments consisted basically in offering leaves (young / mature; bristly / smooth) of W. urens to a diverse number of herbivores in an individual way. Larvae of two lepidoptera, Sphinx lugens and Lophoceramica pyrrha, and adults and nymphs of two orthoptera, Ichthyotettix mexicanus and Sphenarium purpurascens were used in the experiments. I. mexicanus showed a preference for bristly mature leaves of W. urens, while S. lugens fed both smooth and bristly leaves. Nymphs of S. purpurascens and larvae of L. pyrrha had a preference for young leaves. These results are discussed emphasizing the relevance of considering plants as mosaics of resources that vary spatially and temporally in studies of plant-herbivore interactions.


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