Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

 

Food utilization by cinnabar moth larvae, Tyria jacobaeae L. (Lepidoptera : Arctiidae) in relation to feeding site on the host plant, Senecio jacobea L., (Compositae) Public Deposited

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  • The temporal and spatial distribution of larvae of the cinnabar moth (Tyria jacobaeae L.) correlates with changes in host plant qualiy. An observed change in diet preference occurs in the 2nd instar from low leaves to upper parts of generative plants. Timing of larval attack and foraging pattern was found to coincide with peak dry matter and nitrogen availability. There is a vertical gradient of increasing nitrogen in generative and vegetative plants. A study of nutritional performance on diets of various plant parts revealed efficiencies of biomass conversion; rates of nitrogen consumption, accumulation and utilization efficiency can vary on diets of different plant parts as much as on diets of different plants. Basal leaves of generative plants, which are avoided in the normative feeding pattern, did not support growth past the 4th instar. Gross growth efficiency was higher on high leaves containing more nitrogen than on low leaves. Consumption rate varied resulting in a stable rate of nitrogen accumulation. Larvae-fed floral parts have lowered gross growth efficiency, due to an added metabolic or respiratory cost in eating flowers. However, they accumulated more nitrogen, due to increased consumption and efficiency of nitrogen utilization. This higher rate of nitrogen accumulation may be correlated with the higher fecundities observed in larvae fed on floral parts. Thus, the selection of floral parts as food could result in increased fitness of adults by increasing the component of fecundity.
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