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Plants are often simultaneously or sequentially attacked by multiple herbivores and changes in host plants induced by one herbivore can influence the performance of other herbivores. We examined how sequential feeding on the plant Plantago lanceolata by the aboveground herbivore Spodoptera exigua and the belowground herbivore Agriotes lineatus influences plant defense and the performance of both insects. Belowground herbivory caused a reduction in the food consumption by the aboveground herbivore independent of whether it was initiated before, at the same time, or after that of the aboveground herbivore. By contrast, aboveground herbivory did not significantly affect belowground herbivore performance, but significantly reduced the performance of later arriving aboveground conspecifics. Interestingly, belowground herbivores negated negative effects of aboveground herbivores on consumption efficiency of their later arriving conspecifics, but only if the belowground herbivores were introduced simultaneously with the early arriving aboveground herbivores. Aboveground–belowground interactions could only partly be explained by induced changes in an important class of defense compounds, iridoid glycosides (IGs). Belowground herbivory caused a reduction in IGs in roots without affecting shoot levels, while aboveground herbivory increased IG levels in roots in the short term (4 days) but only in the shoots in the longer term (17 days). We conclude that the sequence of aboveground and belowground herbivory is important in interactions between aboveground and belowground herbivores and that knowledge on the timing of exposure is essential to predict outcomes of aboveground–belowground interactions
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-198
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014

    Research areas

  • NIOO

ID: 321116