Feeding, Survival, and Fecundity of Adult Emerald Ash Borer (Coleoptera: Buprestidae) on Foliage of Two Novel Hosts and Implications for Host Range Expansion

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Insect herbivores are more likely to successfully use a novel host if the plant is closely related to the ancestral host and the insect is polyphagous. Emerald ash borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennis (Fairmaire) (Coleoptera: Buprestidae), is a specialist wood borer of ash (Fraxinus spp., Lamiales: Oleaceae) trees and one of the most destructive forest pests in North American forests. Recent studies have found that larvae can develop in stems of two ash relatives; white fringetree (Chionanthus virginicus (L.) [Laminales: Oleaceae]) and cultivated olive (Olea europaea (L.) [Laminales: Oleaceae]). For EAB adults, the ability to consume, successfully mate, and lay viable eggs on foliage of these hosts is unknown.Thus, we conducted two no-choice assays with adult EAB on foliage of white fringetree and olive paired with positive controls of susceptible ash. Larval performance was also examined in a reciprocal study with cut stems of white fringetree and green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica Marshall) to determine whether adult diet impacted the success of progeny. Longevity, consumption rates, and fecundity of adults were similar on white fringetree and ash foliage. In contrast, adults consuming olive died quickly, consumed more over time, and females laid far fewer eggs compared to those on ash. Adult diet did not impact larval success, but larvae in white fringetree stems grew slower. These results indicate that white fringetree is a suitable host for EAB to complete its lifecycle, although larvae perform more poorly on this host than in susceptible ash species. In contrast, the more distantly related olive appears to be a poor host for adult EAB, although some viable eggs were produced by females.



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