Insects on common reed (Phragmites australis): community structure and theimpact of herbivory on shoot growth

T. Tscharntke, Insects on common reed (Phragmites australis): community structure and theimpact of herbivory on shoot growth, AQUATIC BOT, 64(3-4), 1999, pp. 399-410
Citations number
Categorie Soggetti
Aquatic Sciences
Journal title
ISSN journal
0304-3770 → ACNP
Year of publication
399 - 410
SICI code
In this paper, community structure of endophagous insects attacking common reed (Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin ex Steud.) and impact of herbivory o n shoot growth was analyzed in south west Germany. All the 26 phytophagous insects were monophagous, i.e. restricted to their host plant P. australis, which appeared to be due to the predictability and apparency of the large and ancient Phragmites stands. Habitat types were clearly separated due to the mean shoot diameter ('dry' and 'wet' reed) and the mean level of shoot damage (high and low abundance of Archanara shoots). The stem-boring moth A rchanara geminipuncta greatly influenced structure of the insect community, due to heavy shoot damage, and could be classified to be the key species o f the reed ecosystem. In contrast to common expectations of negative effect s, Archanara shoot damage enhanced populations of many insect species, so i nsect guilds of 'primary attackers' (on the main shoot) and 'secondary atta ckers' (on damaged shoots) could be separated. Primary attackers either kil led the growing paint or attacked the apical, medium or basal internodes, w hile secondary attackers were facilitated by shoot damage and could also be subdivided in four guilds: Inquilinous species living between the wilting leaves of damaged shoots, attackers of the side shoot growing in response t o the destruction of apical meristems, saprophagous species feeding on Arch anara droppings, and the successor community of bees and wasps nesting in e mpty galls or broken shoots. There is a continuum from evident plant damage , e.g. by stem-boring moths and leaf-sucking aphids, to enhanced shoot grow th due to the parasitic influence of gall makers, e.g. the significant shoo t elongation by the gall midge Giraudiella inclusa. In Europe, conservation ists are concerned about the die-back of P. australis, while in North Ameri ca and Australia, P. australis is considered to be an invasive weed. Classi cal biological control with the introduction of European insects (like the moth A. geminipuncta) is discussed. (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All righ ts reserved.