Nectar and pollen feeding by insect herbivores and implications for multitrophic interactions

F.L. Wäckers, J. Romeis, P.C.J. Van Rijn

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    Among herbivorous insects with a complete metamorphosis the larval and adult stages usually differ considerably in their nutritional requirements and food ecology. Often, feeding on plant structural tissue is restricted to the larval stage, whereas the adult stage feeds primarily or exclusively on plant-provided food supplements such as nectar and pollen. Research on herbivore nutritional ecology has largely been divided along these lines. Most studies focus on actual herbivory by larval stages, while nectar and pollen feeding by adult herbivores has been addressed mainly in the light of plant-pollinator interactions. Only recently have we started to realize that the two phenomena are closely interlinked and that nectar and pollen feeding by adult herbivores can have a strong impact on plant-herbivore interactions. Here we address this largely ignored aspect of multitrophic level interactions and discuss its wide-ranging implications. Acronyms and Definitions Adult food fecundity index (AFFI): impact of adult feeding on fecundity expressed as mean fecundity realized by adults provided food divided by fecundity of unfed individuals Apparent competition: indirect interaction defined as a negative effect of one species on another species, mediated through action of shared natural enemies Dioecy: plant species with unisexual male and female flowers on separate plant individuals Monophagous: herbivores feeding on one plant species Multitrophic: involving several trophic levels, with plants, herbivores, and carnivores constituting the first three levels Oligophagous: herbivores feeding on several species within one family Optimal foraging theory: the theory that foraging behavior should maximize an animal's net rate of food or nutrient intake Optimal oviposition theory: the theory that an animal's oviposition behavior should maximize its reproductive fitness Parent-offspring conflict: conflict derived from conditions at which genetic interests of parents and offspring are not identical Polyphagous: herbivores feeding on several plant families rm: intrinsic rate of population increase
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)301-323
    JournalAnnual Review of Entomology
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


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