Girdling Increases Survival and Growth of Emerald Ash Borer Larvae on Manchurian Ash

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  1. In its native range in Asia, emerald ash borer (EAB; Agrilus planipennis Fairmaire) is a secondary colonizer of its coevolved hosts, including Manchurian ash (Fraxinus mandschurica Ruprecht). However, why larval performance is enhanced on stressed trees remains to be determined.
  2. We examined the mechanisms that may reduce the resistance of stressed Manchurian ashes. Trees in a common garden were girdled or left untreated as controls and both treatments were inoculated with EAB eggs. Larvae and bark tissue were harvested after feeding and larval performance so that the defensive mechanisms and nutritional quality of bark tissue could be assessed.
  3. Larval survival and mass was twice as high on girdled trees, although girdling had no effect on bark phenolics. The activity of two enzymes involved in wound repair and lignification (peroxidase and cinnamic alcohol dehydrogenase) was increased by girdling in bark tissue. Starch and total protein levels declined in girdled stems, although sugar content was unchanged. Total disulphide levels, a measure of protein oxidative damage, were increased by girdling, although no difference in lipid oxidative damage in ash phloem tissue was detected.
  4. Girdling ash increased larval performance even though it elevated some wound repair mechanisms and decreased some indices of plant nutritional quality. Other tree responses to girdling also were poor predictors of larval performance. It appears that mechanisms of stress‐induced variation in resistance of Manchurian ash to EAB differ from those that may explain interspecific variation in resistance.



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