Pearse, Ian S.
Hipp, Andrew

Phylogenetic and trait similarity to a native species predict herbivory on non-native oaks.

Date created
Introduced plants tend to experience less herbivory than natives, although herbivore loads vary widely. Herbivores may switch hosts onto an introduced plant for at least two reasons. They may recognize the novel plant as a potential host based on similarity of the plant's traits to the traits of one of its native hosts, a similarity that may or may not exhibit phylogenetic signal. Alternatively, herbivores may feed optimally, assessing which introduced plants provide the best nutrition irrespective of similarity to native species. Here, we created a phylogeny of 57 oak (Quercus) taxa, which were grown outside of their ranges in a common botanical garden that contained one abundant native oak (Quercus lobata). We used the phylogeny to estimate the phylogenetic conservatism of herbivory by two feeding guilds of insects (leaf chewers and leaf miners) and 11 plant traits expected to affect herbivore performance. We found high phylogenetic signal in chewing damage but not mining damage and all traits except for leaf maturation time. Introduced oaks that are more closely related to the native oak received more chewing and mining damage than distantly related oaks, and introduced oaks that had greater overall similarity in leaf traits also received higher chewing damage but not mining damage. These results demonstrate that interactions between introduced plants and their herbivores are driven independently by traits that track plant phylogeny and leaf traits that likely affect herbivore performance.
Alternate Title
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Volume, Page Number
106, 18097–18102