Insect herbivory can negatively or positively affect plant performance. We examined how a stem gall midge Rabdophaga rigidae affects the survival, growth, and bud production of current year shoots of the willow Salix eriocarpa. In mid-May, the gall midge initiates stem galls on the apical regions of shoots. The following spring, galled shoots had thicker basal diameters and more lateral shoots than ungalled shoots. Although galled shoots were on average 1.6 times longer than ungalled shoots, there were no significant differences in shoot length or in the numbers of reproductive, vegetative, and dormant buds per shoot. However, the subsequent survival of galled shoots was significantly higher than that of ungalled shoots, probably because of the thicker basal diameter. This increased shoot survival resulted in approximately two times greater reproductive, vegetative, and dormant bud production on galled shoots compared with ungalled shoots in the following spring. These results suggest that the willow regrowth induced by galling can lead to an increase in bud production through increased shoot survival.
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