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Our experimental results confirmed our observational results; cottonwoods growing in association with box elder are more likely to be colonized by fall canker-worm and suffer greater defoliation than cottonwoods growing in other associations (Fig.
001), also dropped significantly with increased distance from box elder, showing that associational susceptibility is a function of distance from box elder ([L.
Observationally, cankerworm egg densities were 26 times greater on box elder than cottonwood (U = 8, n = 39, P [less than] 0.
Fourth instar larvae ate three times more box elder than cottonwood (Z = -3.
In contrast to the high mortality exhibited by first instar larvae on cottonwood, fourth instar larvae that were switched from box elder to cottonwood did not exhibit increased mortality over larvae that remained on box elder.
The contrast between cottonwoods under box elder and cottonwoods under cottonwood is particularly important.
Fall cankerworm larvae do not shift from box elder to cottonwood as a result of changes in larval host preferences.
Cottonwood defoliation averaged 30-50% for individuals growing in close proximity to box elder, and some suffered 100% defoliation.
First, fall cankerworm is a generalist herbivore with respect to box elder and cottonwood.