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Document Type

Peer-Review Article

Abstract

Black ash (Fraxinus nigra), green ash (F. pennsylvanica), and white ash (F. americana) are the three most abundant ash species in the northeastern USA. We compared emerald ash borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire (Coleoptera: Buprestidae), adult performance and preference among seedlings of the three ash species, and then related performance and preference to foli- age nutritional quality and defensive compounds. Longevity of EAB adults reared on green and white ash was found to be greater than on black ash. EAB adult females also seemed to show feeding preference among the three species of ash trees because the total foliage area consumption was greater on green ash and white ash compared to black ash in dual-choice tests; however, the total mass of foliage consumed did not differ. The foliage of all ash species was high in nitrogen and in most macro- and micro-nutrients studied. The patterns of EAB performance and preference did not correspond to any of the individual chemical compounds tested (nitrogen, proteins, most macro- and micro-nutrients, or putative defensive compounds of ash seedlings). Never- theless, greater longevity of EAB adults on green and white ash compared to black ash was probably related to unbalanced nutrients (total nitrogen/total non-structural carbohydrate ratio) of black ash. Putative defensive compounds (i.e., phenolics and protease inhibitors) did not contribute to EAB longevity in this study, probably because (1) EAB adults were able to excrete most of these compounds and (2) their effects were alleviated by high nitrogen levels. More research is needed to elucidate the interactions of nitrogen and carbohydrate levels, and the interactions of nutrient balance and defensive plant allelochemicals on EAB performance and preference.

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