Native insects can form novel associations with introduced invasive plants and use them as a food source. The recent introduction into eastern North America of a nonnative European vine, Vincetoxicum rossicum (Kleopow) Barbar., allows us to examine the initial response of a native chrysomelid beetle, Chrysochus auratus F., that feeds on native plants in the same family as V. rossicum (Apocynaceae). We tested C. auratus on V. rossicum and closely related or co-occurring native plants (Apocynum spp., Asclepias spp., and Solidago canadensis L.) using all life stages of the beetle in lab, garden, and field experiments. Experiments measured feeding (presence or absence and amount), survival, oviposition, and whether previous exposure to V. rossicum in the lab or field affected adult beetle feeding. Beetles fed significantly less on V. rossicum than on native Apocynum hosts. Adult beetles engaged in exploratory feeding on leaves of V. rossicum and survived up to 10 d. Females oviposited on V. rossicum, eggs hatched, and larvae fed initially on the roots; however, no larvae survived beyond second instar. Beetles collected from Apocynum cannabinum L. field sites intermixed with V. rossicum were less likely to feed on this novel nonnative host than those collected from colonies further from and less likely to be exposed to V. rossicum (>5 km). Our experimental work indicates that V. rossicum may act as an oviposition sink for C. auratus and that this native beetle has not adapted to survive on this recently introduced novel host plant.
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Vol. 46 • No. 3