Roles of family and architecture in driving insect community structure: a comparison of nine Australian plant species

Sabine S. Nooten*, Lesley Hughes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

While there has been longstanding interest in the factors that shape the composition and structure of insect assemblages, many fundamental questions remain. We compared species composition, and the distribution of feeding guilds within assemblages of two large insect orders (Coleoptera and Hemiptera) collected from nine plant species within three of the largest Australian plant families. We investigated the relative role of host plant family and architectural traits in explaining the characteristics of the insect assemblage. Assemblage composition varied significantly among plant species within families, as there was little commonality in Coleoptera and Hemiptera morphospecies among plants within each family. When the feeding guild structure of the Coleoptera and Hemiptera assemblages was considered as a whole, there was no consistency within host plant families and among plants with similar architectural traits (leaf size). In contrast, when the guild structure of only the phytophagous members of these two orders was considered, assemblage structure was found to be consistent among plant species with a similar leaf size.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-432
Number of pages10
JournalAustral Entomology
Volume55
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016

Keywords

  • community composition
  • feeding guild structure
  • plant architecture
  • plant family

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