, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 67–74 | Cite as

Insect herbivory on an inland brackish wetland

  • A. Lee Foote
  • John A. Kadlec
  • Barbara K. Campbell


Standing crop measurements were made in emergent wetland vegetation following acute herbivory by 2 species of leaf-chewing caterpillars,Cisseps fulvicula (Ctenucidae) andAcronicta leporina (Noctuidae). Significant weight differences were found between grazed and ungrazed stands of alkali bulrush, cattail, Olney’s bulrush, and saltgrass, respectively. The greatest absolute removal was 2050 kg/ha (43%) in cattail stands and the smallest was 783 kg/ha (47%) in Olney’s bulrush. Mincral conlent of cattail leaf parts remaining after grazing was greater than that of similar but ungrazed stands, suggesting non-random feeding by these insects. Herbivory removed enough plant material to significantly change the standing crop and alter plant stand architecture of these 4 emergent species.

Key Words

herbivory standing crop ash content 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Literature Cited

  1. Bakker, J.P. 1985. The impact of grazing on plant communities, plant populations and soil conditions on salt marshes. Vegetatio 60:391–398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bentley, S. and J.B. Whittaker. 1979. Effects of grazing by a chrysomelid beetleGastrophysa viridula on competition betweenRumex obtusifolius andRumex crispus. Journal of Ecology 67:79–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Berg, C.O. 1950. The biology of aquatic caterpillars which feed onPotamogeton. Transactions American Microscopical Society 69:254–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Boyd, C.F. 1968. Freshwater plants: a potential source of protein. Economic Botany 22:359–368.Google Scholar
  5. Brown, V.K. 1984. Secondary succession: Insect-plant relationships. Bioscience. 34:710–716.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cahoon, D.R. and J.C. Stevenson. 1986. Production, predation, and decompostition in a low-salinityHibiscus marsh. Ecology 67:1341–1350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Carter, W. 1973. Insects in relation to plant disease. Wiley Press, New York, NY, USA.Google Scholar
  8. Caswell, H., F. Reed, S.N. Stephenson, and P.A. Werner. 1973. Photosynthetic pathways and selective herbivory: an hypothesis. American Naturalist. 107:465–480.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Crow, J.H. and K.B. McDonald. 1978. Wetland values: secondary production. p 146–161.In P. Greeson, J.R. Clark, and J.E. Clark (eds.) Wetland Function and Values: the State of Our Understanding. American Water Resources Association. Minneapolis, MN, USA.Google Scholar
  10. Gallagher, J.L. and W.J. Pfeiffer. 1977. Aquatic metabolism of the communities associated with attached dead shoots of saltmarsh plants. Limnology and Oceanography. 22:362–565.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Joenje, W. 1985. The significance of waterfowl grazing on the primary vegetation succession on embanked sand flats. Vegetatio 62:399–406.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Klopatek, J.M. and F.M. Stearns. 1978. Primary productivity of emergent macrophytes in a Wisconsin freshwater marsh ecosystem. American Midland Naturalist 100:320–322.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Meredith, T.C. 1985. Factors affecting recruitment from the seed bank of sedge (Cladius mariscus) dominated communities on Wicken Fen, Cambridgeshire, England. Journal of Biogeography. 12:463–472.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Parsons, K.A. and A.A. de la Cruz. 1980. Energy flow and grazing behavior of conocephaline grasshoppers in aJuncus romerianus marsh. Ecology 61:1045–1050.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Pfeiffer, W.J. and R.G. Weigert. 1981. Grazers onSpartina and their predators. p. 87–112In L.R. Pomeroy and R.G. Weigert (eds.) The Ecology of a Salt Marsh. Springer-Verlag, New York, NY, USA.Google Scholar
  16. Reimold, R.J., R.A. Linthurst, and P.L. Wolf. 1975. Effects of grazing on a salt marsh. Biological Conservation 8:105–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Scott, M.L. and J.L. Haskins. 1987. Effects of grazing by chrysomelid beetles on two wetland herbaceous species. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 114:13–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Skuhravy, V. 1978. Invertebrates: destroyers of common reed. p. 367–388In D. Dykyjova and J. Kvet, (eds.) Pond Littoral Ecosystems. Springer-Verlag, New York, NY, USA.Google Scholar
  19. Smirnov, N.N. 1961. Consumption of emergent plants by insects. International Vereingung Fur Theoretische und angewandte Limnologie, Vergand lungen 14:232–236.Google Scholar
  20. Smith, L.M. and J.A. Kadlec. 1985. A comparison of marsh plant loss estimates in production techniques. American Midland Naturalist 114:393–395.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Stinson, C.S.A. 1983. Effects of insect herbivores on early successional habitats. Ph.D Dissertation. University of England, Berkshire, UK.Google Scholar
  22. Varley, G.C. 1967. The effects of grazing by animals on plant productivity. p. 773–779.In K. Petrusewicz (ed.) Secondary Productivity of Terrestrial Ecosystems. Polish Academy of Sciences, Institute of Ecology, Warsaw, Poland.Google Scholar
  23. Pomeroy, L.R. and R.G. Weigert (eds.). 1981. The Ecology of a Salt Marsh. Springer-Verlag, New York, NY, USA. Wallace, J.E. and J.O’Hop. 1985. Life on a fast pad: waterlily leaf beetle impact on water lilies. Ecology 66:1534–1544.Google Scholar
  24. Wallace, J.E. and J. O’Hop. 1985. Life on a fast pad: waterlily leaf beetle impact on waterlilies. Ecology 66:1534–1544.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Whittaker, J.B. 1982. The effect of grazing by a chrysomelid beetleGastropvsa viridula on growth and survival ofRumex crispus on a shingle bank. Journal of Ecology 70:291–296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Society of Wetland Scientists 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Lee Foote
    • 1
  • John A. Kadlec
    • 1
  • Barbara K. Campbell
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Fisheries and WildlifeUtah State UniversityLogan

Personalised recommendations