Michael Traugott

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White grubs (larvae of Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) are abundant in below-ground systems and can cause considerable damage to a wide variety of crops by feeding on roots. White grub populations may be controlled by natural enemies, but the predator guild of the European species is barely known. Trophic interactions within soil food webs are difficult to study(More)
Molecular analysis of predation, through polymerase chain reaction amplification of prey remains within the faeces or digestive systems of predators, is a rapidly growing field, impeded by a lack of readily accessible advice on best practice. Here, we review the techniques used to date and provide guidelines accessible to those new to this field or from a(More)
Click beetle larvae within the genus Agriotes (Coleoptera: Elateridae), commonly known as wireworms, are abundant ground-dwelling herbivores which can inflict considerable damage to field crops. In Central Europe up to 20 species, which differ in their distribution, ecology and pest status, occur in arable land. However, the identification of these larvae(More)
Wireworms, the larvae of click beetles (Coleoptera: Elateridae), have had a centuries-long role as major soil insect pests worldwide. With insecticidal control options dwindling, research on click beetle biology and ecology is of increasing importance in the development of new control tactics. Methodological improvements have deepened our understanding of(More)
Agriotes wireworms (Coleoptera: Elateridae) are abundant soil-dwelling herbivores which can inflict considerable damage to field crops. In Europe up to 40 species occur, differing in their ecology and pest status. Their distribution in the larval stage, however, has rarely been assessed because of the considerable effort in collecting wireworms and the(More)
Although a significant proportion of plant tissue is located in roots and other below-ground parts of plants, little is known on the dietary choices of root-feeding insects. This is caused by a lack of adequate methodology which would allow tracking below-ground trophic interactions between insects and plants. Here, we present a DNA-based approach to(More)
Insect parasitoids play a major role in terrestrial food webs as they are highly diverse, exploit a wide range of niches and are capable of affecting host population dynamics. Formidable difficulties are encountered when attempting to quantify host-parasitoid and parasitoid-parasitoid trophic links in diverse parasitoid communities. Here we present a(More)
Soil-dwelling pests inflict considerable economic damage in agriculture but are hard to control. A promising strategy to reduce pest pressure on crops is to increase the plant diversity in agroecosystems. This approach, however, demands a sound understanding of species' interactions, which is widely lacking for subterranean herbivore-plant systems. Here, we(More)
Plant roots represent an important food source for soil-dwelling animals, but tracking herbivore food choices below-ground is difficult. Here, we present an optimized PCR assay for the detection of plant DNA in the guts of invertebrates, using general plant primers targeting the trnT-F chloroplast DNA region. Based on this assay, we assessed the influence(More)
1. Multiplex PCR is a valuable tool in many biological studies but it is a multifaceted procedure that has to be planned and optimised thoroughly to achieve robust and meaningful results. In particular, primer concentrations have to be adjusted to assure an even amplification of all targeted DNA fragments. Until now, total DNA extracts were used for(More)