Spartina spp. source populations were identified at four sites along the south coast of England: S. alterniflora—Hythe (50o86′N, 1o39′W); S. anglica—Pagham (50o77′N, 0o78′W); S. maritima—Hayling Island (50o83′N, 0o97′W); and S. x townsendii—Beaulieu Estate (50o77′N, 1o40′W). Due to the extremely sparse and localised distribution of all populations apart from S. anglica, it was not possible to collect sufficient quantities of more than one species from the same site. Spartina spp. plants were grown from sampled rhizome material that had been washed, cut to approximately 12 cm lengths including at least one node and planted in 10 cm (then later transferred to 15 cm) diameter pots containing horticultural grade silver sand. Pots were watered with fresh water and kept continually wet but not inundated (following Denno et al. 2000), with the addition of 100% Hoagland nutrient solution (Hoagland and Arnon 1950) fortnightly. Plants were grown under glasshouse conditions with supplementary lighting (100 W Supanova LED grow lights, 8:2 light ratio comprising 660 nm Red and 430 nm Blue) on an 18:6 h light:dark cycle. Plants were acclimated to glasshouse conditions for 16 weeks prior to the start of experiments.

P. marginata individuals used in glasshouse experiments were drawn from a breeding culture maintained on clusters of potted S. anglica plants grown under glasshouse conditions. The culture was initiated using S. anglica plants removed from Hythe showing brown markings indicative of P. marginata oviposition. New plants were added to the culture as required to maintain a consistent supply of host plant material. Second generation glasshouse-reared insects were utilised for the experiments.

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