Examining predation of the gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar, by the white-footed mouse, Peromyscus leucopus.
Bunker, Andrew G.
AbstractWe used twenty-four captive white-footed mice, Peromyscus leucopus, to study their feeding preferences on the gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar. We predicted that the mice would prefer small, less bristled larvae to large, more bristled larvae, and the mice would prefer seeds to any sized larvae. We also predicted that in areas where gypsy moths are abundant, the number of pupae preyed upon by P. leucopus would be greater. Peromyscus lecucopus did not show a preference for seeds over gypsy moth larvae, perhaps reflecting no preference for either food in nature. Also, the presence of seeds did not affect the preference for different sizes of larvae (0.10 <= p<=0.20, X2=1.99, d.f. = 1). Peromyscus leucopus did show a preference for larger larvae over smaller larvae (N=25, k=7, p=0.022, Binomial test). Potentially, this preference results from a larger benefit per cost of hunting larger larvae and higher activity levels of the larvae during observations trials. Finally, we compared the number of gypsy moth pupae preyed upon in an oak-dominated forest and a non-oak dominated forest. However, due to small sample size, the results were inconclusive.
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