Development and testing of a standardized method to estimate honeydew production

Moir, Melinda L., Renton, Michael, Hoffmann, Benjamin D., Leng, Mei Chen, and Lach, Lori (2018) Development and testing of a standardized method to estimate honeydew production. PLoS ONE, 13 (8). e0201845.

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Abstract

Honeydew production by Hemiptera is an ecologically important process that facilitates mutualisms and increases nutrient cycling. Accurate estimates of the amount of honeydew available in a system are essential for quantifying food web dynamics, energy flow, and the potential growth of sooty mould that inhibits plant growth. Despite the importance of honeydew, there is no standardized method to estimate its production when intensive laboratory testing is not feasible. We developed two new models to predict honeydew production, one based on insect body mass and taxonomic family, and one based on body mass and life stage. We tested the accuracy of both models’ predictions for a diverse range of honeydew-producing hemipteran families (Aphididae, Pseudococcidae, Coccidae, Psyllidae, Aleyrodidae, Delphacidae, Cicadellidae). The method based on body mass and family provided more accurate estimates of honeydew production, due to large variation in honeydew production among families. We apply our methodology to a case study, the recalculation of honeydew available to invasive red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) in the United States. We find that the amount of honeydew may be an order of magnitude lower than that previously estimated (2.16 versus 21.6 grams of honeydew per day) and discuss possible reasons for the difference. We anticipate that being able to estimate honeydew production based on minimal biological information will have applications to agriculture, invasion biology, forestry, and carbon farming.

Item ID: 54814
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1932-6203
Copyright Information: Copyright © 2018 Moir et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), National Environmental Research Program (NERP)
Projects and Grants: ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED), NERP Environmental Decisions Hub
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2018 05:21
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0608 Zoology > 060806 Animal Physiological Ecology @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0608 Zoology > 060808 Invertebrate Biology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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