Seed Addition 2022: Seed Predators?

While the volunteers and I cleaned heads for the seed addition experiment, we encountered something we don’t see every day: seed predators in Echinacea

Busted! This seed predator was still alive and chowing down on Echinacea when I found it. Noticed the holes it gouged in the achenes.
The seed predators seemed to produce a thin, sticky filament that would cause achenes and chaff to attach to each other.

The heads we were cleaning were from two sites we don’t typically harvest from, Hutchings and Nice Island. We had 155 heads from each site, stored all together in three gBags, 1 for hutchings and 2 for nice island. The heads were not in individual hBags. This storage method may have made it easier for the predators to move from head to head, but it’s unclear if they were able to cross from one gBag to another.

Hutchings was the most impacted; I would estimate nearly 50% of achenes from the site had been predated. Seed predation was less common, but still present, among the achenes from nice island, with roughly 1/10 achenes being affected. I removed at least 20, most alive, a few dead, from the hutchings heads during the cleaning and enrichment processes, and maybe 5 from the nice island batched

The grubs ranged from roughly 2-5mm long, and were a peachy orange color with a dark and hard head. They resembled the seed predators we’ve observed in Liatris aspera. I removed all the seed predators I encountered from the Echinacea and isolated them in a paper bag (the Grub Hub) to prevent further damage to the achenes.


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