Oxygen exchange in galls of Eurosta solidaginis (Diptera: Tephritidae)
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Hypoxia in plant tissue should affect animals living within. Gallmakers stimulate their plant hosts to produce the gall they inhabit and feed on, and also influence the gall phenotype for other adaptations, such as defense against predators. The potential for hypoxia in galls of Eurosta solidaginis was studied in the context of potential adaptations to gall oxygen level, using a combination of direct measurement, mathematical modelling, and respirometry on both gallmakers and hosts. Modelling results suggested mild hypoxia tolerable to the larva persists for most of the growth season, whereas more severe hypoxia may occur earlier in fully-grown young galls. Field data from one of the two years studied showed hypoxia more severe than expected, and coincided with adverse weather conditions and high larval mortality. The hypoxia may be related to host response to adverse weather. Whether hypoxia directly caused larval mortality requires further study.