Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Plant composition changes in a small-scale community have a large effect on the performance of an economically important grassland pest

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Author(s)

Xinghu Qin, Huihui Wu, Xunbing Huang, T. Ryan Lock, Robert L. Kallenbach, Jingchuan Ma, Md. Panna Ali, Xiongbing Tu, Guangchun Cao, Guangjun Wang, Xiangqun Nong, Mark R. McNeill, Zehua Zhang

School/Research organisations

Abstract

Background

The grasshopper Oedaleus asiaticus Bey-Bienko (Acrididae: Oedipodinae) is a dominant and economically important pest that is widely distributed across the Mongolian plateau. This herbivore pest causes major damage to the grassland of the Inner Mongolian steppe in China. The population dynamics of herbivore pests is affected by grassland management practices (e.g., mowing and heavy livestock grazing) that alter plant community structures and stoichiometric characteristics. For example, O. asiaticus outbreak is closely associated with plant preference changes caused by nitrogen loss from heavy livestock grazing. However, the manner by which small-scale variation in vegetation affects grasshopper performance and promotes outbreak is poorly characterized. To address this question, we investigated the relationship between small-scale (1 m2) vegetation variability and measures of O. asiaticus performance associated with plant stoichiometric characteristics.

Results

We found that food preferences of O. asiaticus varied significantly, but maintained a specific dietary structure for different plant compositions. Notably, small-scale changes in plant community composition significantly affected grasshopper food preference and body size. Partial least-square modeling indicated that plant proportion and biomass affected grasshopper body size and density. We found that this effect differed between sexes. Specifically, female body mass positively correlated with the proportion of Stipa krylovii grass, whereas male mass positively correlated with the proportion of Artemisia frigida grass. Further analyses indicated that grasshopper performance is closely associated with plant stoichiometric traits that might be responsible for the pest’s plague.

Conclusions

This study provides valuable information for managing grasshoppers using rational grassland management practices.

Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Article number32
Number of pages18
JournalBMC Ecology
Volume19
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Sep 2019

    Research areas

  • Plant composition, Grasshopper plague, Plant stoichiometric traits, Grassland conservation

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by journal

  1. The Hermans–Rasson test as a powerful alternative to the Rayleigh test for circular statistics in biology

    Landler, L., Ruxton, G. D. & Malkemper, E. P., 7 Aug 2019, In: BMC Ecology. 19, 8 p., 30.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  2. Genetic censusing identifies an unexpectedly sizeable population of an endangered large mammal in a fragmented forest landscape

    McCarthy, M. S., Lester, J. D., Howe, E. J., Arandjelovic, M., Stanford, C. B. & Vigilant, L., 25 Aug 2015, In: BMC Ecology. 15, 1

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  3. Forced monogamy in a multiply mating species does not impede colonisation success

    Deacon, A. E., Barbosa, M. & Magurran, A. E., 12 Jun 2014, In: BMC Ecology. 14, 18, 9 p., 18.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

  4. Impact of biodiversity-climate futures on primary production and metabolism in a model benthic estuarine system

    Hicks, N., Bulling, M., Solan, M., Raffaelli, D., White, P. & Paterson, D. M., 14 Feb 2011, In: BMC Ecology. 11, 7.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

ID: 260661289

Top