Document Type

Peer-Review Article


The rate at which an insect infests hosts by ovipositioning and/or subsequent growth of larvae often depends on specific desirable host plant qualities. In this study, we measured the infestation rate of wild rice, Zizania palustris, by the wild rice worm, Apamea apamiformis, D. F. Hardwick (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) and compared it to sediment nitrogen availability, plant biomass, plant density, litter accumulation, and seed carbohydrate and nitrogen concentration. Plant density and litter accumulation had no effect on infestation rates. Infestation rate increased with plant biomass and sediment nitrogen availability. The correlation between infestation rate and sediment nitrogen availability seems to reflect the fact that high nitrogen availability produces larger plants rather than more nutritious seeds as the infestation rate was not correlated with seed glucose content and surprisingly decreased with concentration of nitrogen in seeds. Infestation rate was not related to any other measured quantities. Therefore, Apamea appear to infest larger, rapidly growing host plants which are made possible by high sediment nitrogen availability.

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Entomology Commons