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Durham University

Department of Biosciences


Publication details for Dr Robert Baxter

Hodkinson,ID, Bird,JM, Hill,JK & Baxter,R (2001). Host plant growth characteristics as determinants of abundance and phenology in jumping plant-lice on downy willow. Ecological Entomology 26(4): 376-387.

Author(s) from Durham


1. Salix lapponum host plants at an upper altitudinal site differed significantly in size, structural density, phenology, growth performance, and spatial isolation from those growing at a lower site.

2. Plant differences were paralleled by significant differences in psyllid population density and phenology parameters, with psyllid population density, percentage of catkins occupied, and phenological development relatively lower or retarded at the upper site. Population densities at the upper site, nevertheless, remained high.

3. Plant measurements were good predictors of insect density, often explaining up to 73% of the variance in abundance among plants at a given site.

4. Sets of four plant characters identified by best subsets regression were better predictors of psyllid density and development than single factors, although differences were often not great and the combinations of characters selected by multiple regression sometimes differed from the best single predictors.

5. Best single predictors of psyllid density on catkins were measurements of plant size, particularly height, length, and basal stem diameter. Shoot density and catkin phenology were occasionally important but plant isolation and prior growth performance were less important.

6. By contrast with density, age structure of the psyllid population was predicted best from plant phenological measurements, notably catkin phenology.