Exotic Lonicera Species both Escape and Resist Specialist and Generalist Herbivores in the Introduced Range in North America

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The enemy release hypothesis predicts that invasive plant species may benefit from a lack of top-down control by co-evolved herbivores, particularly specialists, in their new range. However, to benefit from enemy escape, invasive plants must also escape or resist specialist or generalist herbivores that attack related species in the introduced range. We compared insect herbivore damage on the exotic shrub, Lonicera maackii, the native congener Lonicera reticulata, and the native confamilial Viburnum prunifolium in North America. We also compared the laboratory preference and performance of a North American honeysuckle specialist sawfly (Zaraea inflata) and the performance of a widespread generalist caterpillar (Spodoptera frugiperda) on cut foliage from native and exotic Lonicera species. L. maackiireceived significantly lower amounts of foliar herbivory than L. reticulata across three seasons, while damage levels observed on V. prunifolium for two seasons was generally intermediate between L. reticulata and L. maackii. The specialist sawfly damaged L. reticulata heavily, but was not detected on L. maackii in the field. There were few statistical differences in the performance of sawfly larvae on L. reticulata and L. maackii, but the sawfly achieved higher pupal masses on L. reticulata than on L. maackii, and they strongly preferred L. reticulata over L. maackii when given a choice. The sawfly was unable to complete development on native L. sempervirens and non-native L. japonica. In contrast, the generalist caterpillar performed similarly on all Lonicera species. While L. maackii experienced little herbivory in the field compared to native relatives in the same habitat, laboratory assays indicate L. maackii appears to be a suitable host that escapes selection by the specialist, but L. japonica and L. sempervirens are highly resistant to it. These findings indicate that both enemy escape and resistance (to a specialist, but not a generalist herbivore) may contribute to the success of exotic Lonicera species.



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