From the same journal

From the same journal

PATCHINESS AND SPATIAL PATTERN IN THE INSECT COMMUNITY ON RAGWORT SENECIO JACOBAEA

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Author(s)

  • S HARRISON
  • CD THOMAS

Department/unit(s)

Publication details

JournalOikos
DatePublished - Oct 1991
Issue number1
Volume62
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)5-12
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Cinnabar moth (Tyria jacobaeae) frequently defoliates ragwort (Senecio jacobaea), with potentially severe impacts upon other insects sharing this host plant. However, defoliation tends to be spatially localized because the plant is patchy and the moth (apparently) a poor disperser. Here we examine the hypothesis that isolated patches of ragwort form spatial refuges for ragwort-feeding insects, helping them to coexist with the cinnabar moth. On approx. 60 patches of ragwort in a 1.3 km2 area, we tested for interactions between patch isolation, abundance of the cinnabar moth, and abundances of 11 other insects (6 specialist herbivores, 4 generalist herbivores, and one parasitoid of a specialist herbivore). We found plant size and phenology and patch (abiotic) disturbance history to be the major determinants of the distributions of insect populations at this scale. Insects were as abundant on the most isolated patches as on the others, suggesting little limitation to dispersal over distances of 10-100 m. We found no negative associations between the cinnabar moth and other insects, even on the isolated patches. Frequent disturbance and rapid dispersal appear to characterize the spatial dynamics of this community.

    Research areas

  • INTERSPECIFIC COMPETITION, PLANT, COEXISTENCE, CINNABAR MOTH, EXTINCTION, BIOLOGICAL-CONTROL, POPULATION-DYNAMICS, METAPOPULATION, ENVIRONMENT, MOTH TYRIA-JACOBAEAE

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