Effects of pedunculate oak tree vitality on gypsy moth preference and performance
Janković-Tomanić, Milena Ž.
Article (Published version)
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Gypsy moths and powdery mildew play a significant role in oak decline processes. However, information is lacking on the effects on the gypsy moth of impaired tree vitality caused by defoliation or parasite infection. We assessed how pedunculate oak leaves collected from vigorous, declining, and infected trees influenced gypsy moth preference and performance (growth and nutritional indices). We found a negative effect of powdery mildew-infected leaves on gypsy moth performance, while declining trees had positive effects on gypsy moth performance and preference. All examined parameters of larvae fed declining oak leaves were higher than those of larvae fed vigorous oak leaves. Increased growth on declining oak leaves was caused by both higher consumption and more efficient food utilization. The results of this research could help us to better understand multitrophic interactions in complex communities such as oak forests.