Cite as:
Bodner, F.; Strutzenberger, P.; Brehm, G. &amp; Fiedler, K. (2012): <b>Species Richness and Host Specificity among Caterpillar Ensembles on Shrubs in the Andes of Southern Ecuador</b>. <i>Neotropical Entomology</i> <b>n/a</b>, n/a.

Resource Description

Title: Species Richness and Host Specificity among Caterpillar Ensembles on Shrubs in the Andes of Southern Ecuador
FOR816dw ID: 1113
Publication Date: 2012-07-13
License and Usage Rights:
Resource Owner(s):
Individual: Florian Bodner
Individual: Patrick Strutzenberger
Individual: Gunnar Brehm
Individual: Konrad Fiedler
Caterpillar ensembles were sampled on 16 species of shrubs from the family Asteraceae and the genus Piper (Piperaceae) in open and forest habitats in the Andean montane forest zone of southern Ecuador between August 2007 and May 2009. Trophic affiliations of caterpillars to the host plants were confirmed in feeding trials. Overall, species richness of herbivorous caterpillars was high (191 species across all plants), but varied strongly between ensembles associated with different plant species (2–96 lepidopteran species per shrub species). Ensembles on Piper species were characterized by low effective species numbers and high dominance of one or two species of the Geometridae genus Eois Hübner. Low species number and high dominance were also found on latex-bearing Erato polymnioides, whereas ensembles on two other Asteraceae species were far more diverse and less strongly shaped by a few dominant species. The observed diversity patterns fit well to the concept that anti-herbivore defenses of plants are the major factors regulating associated insect ensembles. Local abundance and geographic range of host plants appear to have less influence. Lepidopteran species feeding on Asteraceae were found to be more generalistic than those feeding on Piper species. We conclude that caterpillar ensembles on most, but not all, studied plant species are defined by a small number of dominant species, which usually are narrow host specialists. This pattern was more distinct on Piper shrubs in forest understory, whereas Asteraceae in disturbed habitats had more open caterpillar ensembles.
| Lepidoptera | tropical montane forest | Asteraceae | insect herbivores | Piperaceae |
Literature type specific fields:
Journal: Neotropical Entomology
Volume: n/a
Page Range: n/a
Metadata Provider:
Individual: Florian Bodner
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