Comparison of the life history of a native insect Laelia coenosa with a native plant Phragmites australis and an invasive plant Spartina alterniflora

YU Wensheng 1 GUO Yaolin 1 JIANG Jiajia 1 SUN Keke 1 JU Ruiting 1

(1.Institute of Biodiversity Science, Ministry of Education Key Laboratory for Biodiversity Science and Ecological Engineering, Coastal Ecosystems Research Station of the Yangtze River Estuary, and Institute of Eco-Chongming (IEC), Fudan University, Shanghai 200438)
【Knowledge Link】saltmarsh

【Abstract】The invasion of Spartina alterniflora into saltmarsh ecosystems has resulted in a host transfer of a native generalist insect, Laelia coenosa. At present, the life history of L. coenosa on S. alterniflora is unclear, although this information is of great importance for evaluating if the native insect can permanently use S. alterniflora. To compare the differences in the life history dynamics of L. coenosa between its native host plant Phragmites australis and the invasive host plant S. alterniflora, we investigated the insect occurrence on the two plant habitats in a saltmarsh of the Yangtze River estuary in Chongming, Shanghai. We found that the insect occurred in three generations and overwintered as larvae on both S. alterniflora and P. australis. The larvae started overwintering about 20 days later on the invasive plant than on the native plant, and the emerging duration of the insect at most stages of other generations was also approximately 10 days later on the invasive than on native plant. These results suggested that following S. alterniflora invasion, the duration of the moth’s appearance on the invasive plant was prolonged while the number of annual generations did not change. We speculate that the differences in the growth and development of L. coenosa between S. alterniflora and P. australis may be related to the resource availability between plant habitats and the nutritional and defensive levels between plant species.

【Keywords】 fitness; biological invasion; biological characteristics; ecological trap; herbivory;


【Funds】 National Natural Science Foundation of China (31670544) Key Project of Shanghai Municipal Committee of Science and Technology (18DZ1206507)

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(Translated by XU MY)


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This Article



Vol 27, No. 04, Pages 433-438

April 2019


Article Outline



  • 1 Research methods
  • 2 Results
  • 3 Discussion
  • References