Model analysis for plant disease dynamics co-mediated by herbivory and herbivore-borne phytopathogens

Takefumi Nakazawa, Takehiko Yamanaka, Satoru Urano

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16 Citations (Scopus)


Plants are subject to diseases caused by pathogens, many of which are transmitted by herbivorous arthropod vectors. To understand plant disease dynamics, we studied a minimum hybrid model combining consumer-resource (herbivore-plant) and susceptible-infected models, in which the disease is transmitted bi-directionally between the consumer and the resource from the infected to susceptible classes. Model analysis showed that: (i) the disease ismore likely to persist when the herbivore feeds on the susceptible plants rather than the infected plants, and (ii) alternative stable states can exist in which the system converges to either a disease-free or an endemic state, depending on the initial conditions. The second finding is particularly important because it suggests that the disease may persist once established, even though the initial prevalence is low (i.e. The R0 rule does not always hold). This situation is likely to occur when the infection improves the plant nutritive quality, and the herbivore preferentially feeds on the infected resource (i.e. indirect vector-pathogen mutualism). Our results highlight the importance of the eco-epidemiological perspective that integration of tripartite interactions among host plant, plant pathogen and herbivore vector is crucial for the successful control of plant diseases. This journal is

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)685-688
Number of pages4
JournalBiology Letters
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Aug 23

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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