Root-feeding insects are an increasingly studied group of herbivores whose impacts on plant productivity and ecosystem processes are widely recognized. Their belowground habitat has hitherto hindered our understanding of how they interact with other organisms that share the rhizosphere. A surge in research in this area has now shed light on these interactions. We review key interactions between root-feeding insects and other rhizospheric organisms, including beneficial plant microbes (mycorrhizal fungi, nitrogen-fixing bacteria), antagonists/pathogens of root herbivores (arthropod predators, entomopathogenic nematodes/fungi, and bacterial pathogens), competitors, symbiotic microbes, and detritivores. Patterns for these interactions are emerging. The negative impacts of mycorrhizal fungi on root herbivores, for instance, raise the intriguing prospect that these fungi could be used for pest management. Moreover, a better understanding of symbiotic microbes in root herbivores, especially those underpinning digestion, could prove useful in industries such as biofuel production.


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