Environmental entomology

Plant-Herbivore and Plant-Pollinator Interactions of the Developing Perennial Oilseed Crop, Silphium integrifolium.

PMID 29029088


Sampling in Kansas and North Dakota documented the plant-herbivore and plant-pollinator interactions of the developing perennial oilseed crop, Silphium integrifolium Michx. The larva of the tortricid moth, Eucosma giganteana (Riley), was the most damaging floret- and seed-feeding pest in Kansas, with infested heads producing ≈85% (2015) or ≈45% (2016) fewer seeds than apparently undamaged heads. Necrosis of apical meristems caused stunting and delayed bloom in Kansas; though the source of the necrosis is not known, observations of the tarnished plant bug, Lygus lineolaris (Palisot de Beauvois; Hemiptera: Miridae), in S. integrifolium terminals suggest a possible cause. In North Dakota, E. giganteana larvae were not found, but pupae of Neotephritis finalis (Loew; Diptera: Tephritidae), a minor pest of cultivated sunflower, were common in the heads of S. integrifolium. Bees appeared highly attracted to S. integrifolium, and in all but one observation, bees were seen actively collecting pollen. The most common bees included large apids (Apis mellifera L., Svastra obliqua [Say], Melissodes spp.) and small-bodied halictids (Lasioglossum [Dialictus] spp.). Controlled pollination experiments demonstrated that S. integrifolium is pollinator dependent, due to both mechanical barriers (imperfect florets and protogyny) and genetic self-incompatibility. Subsequent greenhouse tests and AFLP confirmation of putative self-progeny show that a low (<1%) level of self-pollination is possible. If genetic self-incompatibility is eventually reduced through breeding, mechanical barriers would maintain a reliance on bees to move pollen between male and female florets. Collectively, observations on S. integrifolium show that both herbivore and pollinator management are important to maximize seed production.