Inbreeding influences herbivory in Cucurbita pepo ssp. texana (Cucurbitaceae)

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In a series of field experiments Diabrotica beetle herbivory was found to influence the magnitude of inbreeding depression in Cucurbita pepo ssp. texana, an annual monoecious vine. Beetles damage flowers and fruits and chew dime-sized holes in leaf tissue between major veins. Inbred plants were found to be more likely to be damaged by beetles and to have more leaves damaged per plant than outcrossed plants. A positive linear association was found between the coefficient of inbreeding and the magnitude of leaf damage, whereas a negative association was found between coefficient of inbreeding and several male and female fitness traits. When pesticides were used to control beetle herbivory, the interaction between coefficient of inbreeding and pesticide treatment was significant for fruit production and marginally significant for pollen quantity per anther. Therefore, the magnitude of inbreeding depression in C. pepo ssp . texana varies depending on the severity of beetle herbivory.