Comparison of feeding efficiency, development time and survival of Tasmanian eucalyptus leaf beetle larvae Chrysophtharta bimaculata (Olivier) (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) on two hosts
Baker, SC and Elek, JA and Candy, SG, Comparison of feeding efficiency, development time and survival of Tasmanian eucalyptus leaf beetle larvae Chrysophtharta bimaculata (Olivier) (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) on two hosts, Australian Journal of Entomology, 41 pp. 174-181. ISSN 1326-6756 (2002) [Refereed Article]
The native Eucalyptus leaf beetle Chrysophtharta bimaculata (Olivier) (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) has
become a pest of the introduced, plantation species, Eucalyptus nitens Maiden in Tasmania, Australia.
However, in the field it prefers to oviposit on the Tasmanian native species, E. regnans F. Muell. This
laboratory study found that the performance of C. bimaculata larvae was superior on foliage of E. nitens
compared with E. regnans. Larval development was 4 days shorter on E. nitens than on E. regnans foliage.
Total food consumption per larva and relative consumption rates were about 30% lower while relative growth
rates and weight of emergent adults were more than 25% higher on E. nitens than E. regnans. Efficiency of
conversion (ECI) of fresh food into larval wet weight was 0.26 on E. nitens compared with 0.14 on E. regnans.
Mortality of larvae feeding on E. nitens (23%) was only one third of that on E. regnans (69%), a result of high
first instar mortality on E. regnans. Although the amount of foliage consumed per larva was lower on E. nitens
(0.23 g vs 0.32 g), the differential mortality meant that the amount of E. nitens consumed per egg batch was
60% more than that of E. regnans. If these results occurred in the field, then the same monitored population of
C. bimaculata eggs may result in heavier defoliation of plantation E. nitens than of E. regnans. These data
show that the reported oviposition preference of C. bimaculata for E. regnans in the field cannot be explained
by selection of host factors related to superior larval performance.