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    The combined effects of herbivory and water stress on growth and reproduction of mile-a-minute weed (Persicaria perfoliata (L.) H. Gross) were investigated in greenhouse trials over two years, with well-watered or water-limited plants either exposed or not exposed to herbivory by the mile-a-minute weevil (Rhinoncomimus latipes Korotyaev). Moisture limitation and weevil herbivory significantly reduced the number of seeds produced by P. perfoliata, with the fewest seeds produced when both factors were present. Seed weight was reduced by moisture limitation and weevil herbivory the second year, and seed viability was reduced by herbivory both years. Plant biomass was lower both years under conditions of water limitation, with an additional effect of herbivory the second year. Well-watered plants the second year also produced substantially more weevils than water-limited plants by the end of the season. Results are consistent with field observations suggesting that years of high rainfall allow resurgence of P. perfoliata plant populations that were previously suppressed by R. latipes. An additional environmental chamber trial assessed the interaction between the weed and weevil at two different temperatures. Here, plant mortality occurred only at the higher temperature with weevil herbivory, suggesting that herbivory has a greater negative effect on P. perfoliata under warm conditions. Additional studies on temperature effects are needed for a more complete understanding of interactions between P. perfoliata and R. latipes under different abiotic conditions.

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    Berg, Scott H.; Hough-Goldstein, Judith; Lake, Ellen C.; D'Amico, Vincent. 2015. Mile-a-minute weed (Persicaria perfoliata) and weevil (Rhinoncomimus latipes) response to varying moisture and temperature conditions. Biological Control. 83: 68-74.


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    Water stress, Drought, Herbivory, Persicaria perfoliata, Rhinoncomimus latipes

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