Insect Herbivory in Tree Crowns of Tabebuia aurea and T. ochracea (Bignoniaceae) in Brazil: Contrasting the Cerrado with the "Pantanal Matogrossense"


genetic polymorphism

How to Cite

Ribeiro, S. P., & Brown, V. K. (1999). Insect Herbivory in Tree Crowns of Tabebuia aurea and T. ochracea (Bignoniaceae) in Brazil: Contrasting the Cerrado with the "Pantanal Matogrossense". Selbyana, 20(1), 159–170. Retrieved from


Herbivory rates were contrasted between Tabebuia aurea and T. ochracea in the cerrado, and on T. aurea in cerrado and the wetland Pantanal Matogrossense, where the species occurs in monodominant stands. Variability of leaf size and leaf specific area (LSA) are described. Herbivory rates are correlated with individual mean genetic distance within the population (based on an UPGMA analysis), from previous data, to test the hypothesis that resistance to herbivory increases with increasing differentiation between individuals. In the three populations, levels of herbivory are compared among branches within individuals, and individual trees within populations, and finally among populations. Tabebuia aurea in the cerrado showed the highest phenotypic variability of leaf area, and T. ochracea showed the highest variance in LSA. Insect chewing (caused by Chrysomelidae, Coleoptera and leaf-mining, Lepidoptera) was studied on two leaf cohorts in 1996. Herbivory rates varied significantly within trees in all populations, while patterns of herbivory among trees were also variable. For both leaf cohorts, herbivory was greater in the cerrado than in the Pantanal, and greater on T. aurea than on T. ochracea. Stem growth between the two leaf flushes was not affected by species, populations, or sites. It was negatively correlated, however, with individual leaf area lost (r² = 0.15). In the cerrado, insect damage to leaves was negatively correlated with genetic distance, which means that individuals of T. ochracea, which had higher genetic variability in a population, were attacked less than individuals of T. aurea. Polymorphism protection and evolution of resistance are discussed, as well as the consistently low herbivory rates in the monodominant population of T. aurea.


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