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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)
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)
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)
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)
Predation on parasitized hosts can significantly affect natural enemy communities, and such intraguild predation may indirectly affect control of herbivore populations. However, the methodological challenges for studying these often complex trophic interactions are formidable. Here, we evaluate a DNA-based approach to track parasitism and predation on(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)
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)
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)
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)
Tracking the movement of soil-living herbivores is difficult, albeit important for understanding their spatial ecology as well as for pest management. In this study the movement of Agriotes obscurus larvae between plots harbouring isotopically different plants was examined. Neither between maize and wheat nor between maize and grassland movement could be(More)