Journal article

Bottom-Up and top-down effects influence Bruchid beetle individual performance but not population densities in the field

  • Zaugg, Isabelle Unit of Ecology & Evolution, Department of Biology, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
  • Benrey, Betty Institut de Biologie, University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland
  • Bacher, Sven Unit of Ecology & Evolution, Department of Biology, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
Published in:
  • PLoS ONE. - 2013, vol. 8, no. 1, p. e55317
English Plant quality (bottom-up) and natural enemies (top-down) can influence the individual performance of herbivorous insects on their host plants, but few studies measured at the same time the influence on population densities in the field. We investigated if plant quality of different wild common bean populations, Phaseolus vulgaris L. (Fabaceae), affects the performance of the bean weevil, Acanthoscelides obtectus (Say) (Coleoptera: Bruchidae), and one of its enemies, the ectoparasitoid Dinarmus basalis (Rondani) (Hymenoptera: Pteromalidae), in controlled laboratory experiments. Additionally, we examined if parasitoids influence the beetles' development and if increased individual beetle and parasitoid fitness lead to higher field population densities. We show that bean quality and parasitoids affected individual bean weevil performance under laboratory and field conditions. In the presence of parasitoids, fewer and smaller beetles emerged. However, beetle and parasitoid performance were not correlated. Increased individual performance was not leading to higher population densities; we found no correlations between measured performance components and beetle field infestation levels or parasitism rates. We conclude that bottom-up or top-down effects measured at the individual level do not always translate into population effects; therefore it is important to discriminate between effects acting on individual insects and those acting on populations.
Faculté des sciences et de médecine
Département de Biologie
  • English
Biological sciences
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