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Indirect interactions between rust (Melampsora epitea) and leaf beetle (Phratora vulgatissima) damage onsalix

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Willows (Salix spp.) are beneficial as a potential source of renewable energy, riparian barriers and riverbank control, yet are considered invasive weeds when they clog watercourses and lead to erosion and flooding. Interactions between willow rustMelampsora epitea (Thüm.) (Uredinales: Melampsoraceae) and leaf beetlePhratora spp. (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) feeding damage have an impact on effective pest management and biological control. The present study investigated the effects of(a) prior mechanical leaf damage on rust development, and(b) rust infection on beetle feeding under laboratory conditions for different time intervals and levels of damage. Willow rust infection significantly reduced the amount of leaf area consumed by beetles. The result was similar when a compatible or an incompatible rust pathotype was sprayed ontoSalix viminalis (L.) ‘Mullatin’ plants. There were no overall significant effects of mechanical damage on rust development, although the lowest level of rust infection was found with the incremental damage treatment. There were, however, differences of significance for leaf position and damage status, with damaged leaves at all positions having fewer pustules and a smaller pustule area than the corresponding undamaged leaves. There was no detectable effect of possible volatile emissions from crushed willow leaves on rust infection and development, although the volatile compoundcis-3-hexenyl acetate significantly reduced pustule diameter and overall pustule area. The results are discussed in terms of the implications for pest management and biological control.

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Corresponding author posting April 6, 2003.

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Peacock, L., Hunter, T., Yap, M.L. et al. Indirect interactions between rust (Melampsora epitea) and leaf beetle (Phratora vulgatissima) damage onsalix . Phytoparasitica 31, 226–235 (2003).

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Key words

  • Chrysomelidae
  • induced response
  • insect-fungus interactions
  • rust
  • shortrotation coppice
  • willow