Articles by John T. Lill in JoVE
A Simple Protocol for Extracting Hemocytes from Wild Caterpillars Teresa M. Stoepler1, Julio C. Castillo1, John T. Lill1, Ioannis Eleftherianos1 1Department of Biological Sciences, The George Washington University Insect hemocytes carry out many important functions, both immune and non-immune, throughout all stages of insect development. Our present knowledge of hemocyte types and function comes from studies on insect genetic models. Here, we present a method for extracting, quantifying and visualizing hemocytes from wild caterpillars.
Other articles by John T. Lill on PubMed
Impacts of Alternative Timber Harvest Practices on Leaf-chewing Herbivores of Oak Conservation Biology : the Journal of the Society for Conservation Biology. Apr, 2006 | Pubmed ID: 16903104 Studies of the effects of logging on Lepidoptera rarely address landscape-level effects or effects on larval, leaf-feeding stages. We examined the impacts of uneven-aged and even-aged logging on the abundance, richness, and community structure of leaf-chewing insects of white (Quercus alba L.) and black (Q. velutina L.) oak trees remaining in unharvested areas by sampling 3 years before and 7 years after harvest. After harvest, white oaks in uneven-aged sites had 32% fewer species of leaf-chewing insects than control sites. This reduction in species richness may have resulted from changes in microclimate (reducing plant quality and/or changing leaf phenology) that affected a much larger total area of each site than did even-aged cuts. For black oak after harvest, species richness in uneven- and even-aged sites increased relative to levels before harvest. Harvesting did not alter total insect density or community structure in the unlogged habitat for either oak species with one exception: insect density on black oak increased in the oldest forest block. Community structure of herbivores of black and white oaks in clearcut gaps differed from that of oaks in intact areas of even-aged sites. Furthermore, both richness and total insect density of black oaks were reduced in clearcut gaps. We suggest that low-level harvests alter herbivore species richness at the landscape level. Treatment effects were subtle because we sampled untreated areas of logged landscapes, only one harvest had occurred, and large temporal and spatial variation in abundance and richness existed. Although the effects of logging were greater in uneven-aged sites, the effects of even-aged management are likely to increase as harvesting continues.
Impact of Plant Architecture Versus Leaf Quality on Attack by Leaf-tying Caterpillars on Five Oak Species Oecologia. May, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 19960353 Because shelter-building herbivorous insect species often consider structural features of their host plants in selecting construction sites, their probability of attack is likely to be a function of some combination of plant architectural traits and leaf quality factors. We tested the hypothesis that plant architecture, in the form of the number of touching leaves, influences interspecific variation in attack by leaf-tying caterpillars in five species of sympatric Missouri oaks (Quercus). We compared colonization on control branches, in which both architecture and leaf quality were potentially important, with colonization on experimental branches for which we controlled for the effects of architecture by creating equal numbers of artificial ties. Colonization of artificial ties was highly correlated with natural colonization on neighboring control branches, suggesting that leaf quality factors and not architecture influenced interspecific variation in attack by leaf-tying caterpillars. Of the leaf quality factors measured (water, protein-binding capacity, nitrogen, specific leaf area, pubescence, and toughness), nitrogen was the most explanatory. With the exception of white oak, natural leaf tie colonization was positively correlated with nitrogen availability (ratio of nitrogen to protein-binding capacity), and negatively correlated with protein-binding capacity of leaf extracts. Both host plant species and subgenus oak influenced the community composition of leaf-tying caterpillars and the non-tying symbionts colonizing the ties. Host plant differences in leaf nitrogen content were positively correlated with pupal weight of one of two caterpillar species reared on all five host plant species. Thus, interspecific differences in nitrogen, nitrogen availability, and protein-binding capacity of leaf extracts are the best predictors at this time of interspecific differences in attack by leaf-tying caterpillars, in turn affecting their success on individual host plants in the laboratory.
Winter Predation of Diapausing Cocoons of Slug Caterpillars (Lepidoptera: Limacodidae) Environmental Entomology. Dec, 2010 | Pubmed ID: 22182555 Predators exert strong top-down pressure on herbivorous insects, but research on how predators affect herbivore fitness often focuses on the more active juvenile and adult life stages while ignoring the pupal or cocoon life stage. Few studies have investigated predation of lepidopteran pupae or cocoons and even fewer have investigated species that are not forest pests. Here we present a study on overwinter survival for two moth species in the family Limacodidae, a group of polyphagous species found in deciduous forests. We placed cocoons of the saddleback caterpillar, Acharia stimulea (Clemens), and the spiny oak-slug caterpillar, Euclea delphinii (Boisduval), in the field under saplings of six different tree species and monitored predation and survival. This is the first study to examine predation rate among different host plants within a site. We found that cocoon predation was fairly high and differed significantly between limacodid species (29% for A. stimulea vs. 22% for E. delphinii). Predation rate did not differ among the six host plant species that we tested and also did not vary annually. Through phenotypic selection analyses, we found that cocoon mass affected both the likelihood of predation and overwinter survival; larger cocoons were less likely to be depredated and more likely to successfully emerge the following year. Overall our results indicate that cocoon predation is an important source of mortality for these two limacodid species and that there may be positive selection for greater cocoon mass for both limacodid species.