n African Zoology - Intraspecific host preferences of mopane moths () in mopane () woodland

Volume 44, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1562-7020
  • E-ISSN: 2224-073X
This article is unavailable for purchase outside of Africa



trees are a common larval food plant of the mopane moth (), which commonly reaches outbreak proportions. Our study investigated factors determining host tree choice by ovipositing mopane moths within a single host species (). Tree size was the primary determinant of oviposition at both the habitat (tall riverine-, medium height woodland- and short-shrub mopane) and individual tree scale, with an increase in the number of egg masses with increasing tree size (estimated by height and canopy volume). Preference for larger trees was only evident at the habitat scale, however, as individual trees were utilized as expected according to the availability of their canopy size class. More detailed tree characteristics, such as leaf size, shoot size, stem number and even leaf chemistry (protein:tannin ratio and total polyphenols) had no influence on host choice. Host choice was based on the most obvious measure of resource abundance, namely tree size, as expected for an outbreak species, since resource availability rather than nutritional quality is likely to be the primary determinant of larval survival.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error