Plant-mediated interactions between the rice water weevil and fall armyworm in rice

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Greenhouse studies were conducted to investigate plant-mediated interactions between an above-ground and a below-ground herbivore when sharing a common host plant, rice (Oryza sativa L). Two common pests of rice were used: the rice water weevil (RWW), Lissorhoptrus oryzophilus Kuschel, as the root herbivore, and the fall armyworm (FAW), Spodoptera frugiperda (J. E. Smith) as the foliage-feeding herbivore. Rice water weevil larval performance was assessed by measuring larval density and average weight in response to different levels of defoliation by FAW larvae. The reciprocal experiment was done to evaluate FAW performance (growth rate) in response to RWW feeding. Severe defoliation by FAW decreased RWW densities by 32% and reduced larval weights by 48% compared to larvae on roots of non-defoliated plants. Effects in the converse experiments were not as strong. FAW growth rates were reduced 9-37% when feeding on rice leaves from plants damaged by RWW compared to larvae feed leaves from the no damage treatment. These reciprocal negative effects show that RWW and FAW are potential competitors when sharing a rice plant. Because RWW and FAW did not interact directly, competition was plant-mediated.

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Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata

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