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New Harvard Forest Publication: Moth Herbivory of Pitcher Plants

July 1, 2006
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This paper summarizes the independent research project of 2004 Summer Research Program student Dan Atwater, in which he examined changes in the distribution of two noctuid moths that feed on pitcher plants at Tom Swamp. Large plants were preferentially attacked by larvae of Exyra fax but the pitcher-plant borer Papaipema appassionata was not so selective. We hypothesize that spatial distribution of Exyra larvae results both from selectivity in feeding and from limited flight distances of adults. In contrast, spatial distribution of Papaipema larvae may result from limited larval mobility. The results of this study provided key preliminary data for a successful NSF grant proposal.

Atwater, D.Z., J.L. Butler, and A.M. Ellison. 2006. Spatial distribution and impacts of moth herbivory on northern pitcher plants. Northeastern Naturalist 13: 43-56.

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