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Collembola respond to aphid herbivory but not to honeydew addition

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Publication details

JournalEcological entomology
DatePublished - Oct 2009
Issue number5
Number of pages7
Pages (from-to)588-594
Original languageEnglish


1. Euedaphic collembola alter their soil distribution in response to above-ground aphid herbivory of Poa annua L. Graminae, a host grass.

2. Two mechanisms potentially underpin this effect. Carbon-rich aphid honeydew falling onto the soil surface may affect mycophagous collembola; alternatively aphid-induced changes in root biomass may be necessary to produce changes in collembola abundance.

3. When compared to a plant-only control, aphid herbivory increased the number of collembola in the top 5 cm of soil, reduced both foliar and root biomass, and increased shoot/root ratio. Honeydew addition had no effect on collembola numbers or any recorded host-plant parameter.

4. Honeydew deposition is not responsible for the increased numbers of collembola found in the upper soil after aphid herbivory; aphid-induced reductions in root biomass may be the most important factor explaining knock-on effects of aphid herbivory on soil fauna.

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