Data for research article 'Establishment, spread and impact of an invasive planthopper on its invasive host plant: Prokelisia marginata (Homoptera: Delphacidae) exploiting Spartina anglica (Poales: Poaceae) in Britain'
1. Since its recent arrival in Britain, the planthopper Prokelisia marginata has spread widely around saltmarshes on the east and south coast of England and south Wales, feeding on Common Cordgrass, Spartina anglica, itself an invasive non-native species.
2. Results suggest that P. marginata populations in Britain are benefitting from a degree of natural enemy release. No evidence of parasitism was found in over 71,000 eggs, nymphs and adults inspected. The only potential natural enemy control was suggested by a positive correlation between the densities of planthoppers and generalist spiders.
3. Experimental exposure under both glasshouse and field conditions to typical field densities of planthoppers resulted in significant negative effects on a number of host plant performance metrics.
4. S. anglica is important for stabilising estuarine sediments and has been deliberately planted for this purpose in the past. Its weakening as a result of heavy planthopper herbivory could have serious consequences for the long-term stability of Britain’s vulnerable saltmarsh habitats.
Zoology ESRC/NERC Training Grant 2011
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