Explaining the distribution of Rhabdopterus jansoni in coffee plantations: insights from diet breadth and preference

Zachary Hajian-Forooshani, Ryan Kuesel, David J. Gonthier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Understanding the factors that influence the dynamics of herbivory becomes a particularly important challenge when considering agricultural systems. Here we use the regionally specific herbivore of Coffea spp., Rhabdopterus jansoni (Jacoby) (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) and explore the potential factors which contribute to its dynamics and relative densities in coffee agroecosystems. Our experiments have shown that R. jansoni did not feed differentially on varieties of Coffea arabica, but preferred all varieties of Coffea arabica to Coffea canephora. No difference was found in R. jansoni’s preference for young or old coffee leaves, R. jansoni was more abundant in plantations of C. arabica relative to C. canephora, and finally, R. jansoni was found on 15 of 18 shade trees surveyed in the agroecosystem. Interestingly the lab preference experiments correspond to the relative densities of R. jansoni in the field, suggesting to us that field surveys may represent a metric of preference for some herbivores in agroecosystems. Additionally we discuss various factors to be considered when attempting to understand the role that shade trees may play in agroforestry systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)731-738
Number of pages8
JournalAgroforestry Systems
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements We thank P. Perez Lopez and U. Vasquez Lopez for field assistance. Funding and support were provided by the University of Michigan, Colegio de la Frontera Sur, Rackham Graduate School, NSF-GRF (DGE-0718128) to D. Gonthier, NSF Grant (DEB-1309786) to D. Gonthier and I. Perfecto, and NSF Grant (DEB-1020096) to S. Philpott. It is important to note that Jean Reinhardt, Guiseppe Venuti, and Ferdinand LaMothe were instrumental in the conceptual development of this work.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


  • Agriculture pest
  • Agroecology
  • Coffee
  • Coffee varieties
  • Coleoptera
  • Herbivory
  • Rhabdopterus jansoni

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Agronomy and Crop Science


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