Low host specificity of herbivorous insects in a tropical forest

  title={Low host specificity of herbivorous insects in a tropical forest},
  author={Vojtěch Novotn{\'y} and Yves Basset and Scott E. Miller and George D. Weiblen and Birgitta Bremer and Lukas Cizek and Pavel Drozd},
Two decades of research have not established whether tropical insect herbivores are dominated by specialists or generalists. This impedes our understanding of species coexistence in diverse rainforest communities. Host specificity and species richness of tropical insects are also key parameters in mapping global patterns of biodiversity. Here we analyse data for over 900 herbivorous species feeding on 51 plant species in New Guinea and show that most herbivorous species feed on several closely… 
Low beta diversity of herbivorous insects in tropical forests
Low beta diversity was documented in groups with differing host specificity (fruitflies and ambrosia beetles), suggesting that dispersal limitation does not have a substantial role in shaping the distribution of insect species in New Guinea lowland rainforests.
Host specificity of insect herbivores in tropical forests
  • V. Novotný, Y. Basset
  • Environmental Science
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • 2005
This conclusion, together with the recent downward revisions of extremely high estimates of tropical species richness, suggest that tropical ecosystems may not be as biodiverse as previously thought.
Guild-specific patterns of species richness and host specialization in plant-herbivore food webs from a tropical forest.
A complex, species-rich plant-herbivore food web for lowland rain forest in Papua New Guinea is described, resolving 6818 feeding links between 224 plant species and 1490 herbivore species drawn from 11 distinct feeding guilds.
Four ways towards tropical herbivore megadiversity.
This work presents a comprehensive scheme in which tropical herbivore megadiversity can be partitioned into the following components: more host plant species per se, more arthropod species per plant species, higher host specificity of herbivores, or higher species turnover in the tropics than in the temperate zone.
From communities to continents: beta diversity of herbivorous insects
The role of dispersal limitation in the distribution of herbivorous insects in tropical forests could be minor, as short-lived insects are efficient colonisers of their mostly long-lived woody hosts.
Canopy insect herbivores in the Azorean Laurisilva forests: key host plant species in a highly generalist insect community
This article explores patterns of insect herbivore distribution in the canopy of the Laurisilva forests on seven islands in the Azores archipelago. To our knowledge, this is one of the first
On the factors that promote the diversity of herbivorous insects and plants in tropical forests
  • J. X. Becerra
  • Environmental Science
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
  • 2015
The strong connections found between insect specialization, plant defense divergence, and plant and insect diversities suggest that increasing the understanding of the ecology of biological communities can aid in considerations of how to preserve biodiversity in the future.
Arthropod Diversity in a Tropical Forest
This work sampled the phylogenetic breadth of arthropod taxa from the soil to the forest canopy in the San Lorenzo forest, Panama using a comprehensive range of structured protocols and found that models based on plant diversity fitted the accumulated species richness of both herbivore and nonherbivore taxa exceptionally well.
Tropical forests are not flat: how mountains affect herbivore diversity.
It is concluded that tropical herbivore diversity and diet breadth covary significantly with elevation and urge the inclusion of montane ecosystems in host specialization and arthropod diversity estimates.
Experimental evidence for apparent competition in a tropical forest food web
The herbivorous insects of tropical forests constitute some of the most diverse communities of living organisms. For this reason it has been difficult to discover the degree to which these


Host-specificity of folivorous insects in a moist tropical forest
To assess the degree of herbivore host-specificity in the moist tropical forest on Barro Colourado Island, Panama, an extensive series of feeding trials on the common insect herbivores from 10 tree species found specialists are responsible for most of the insect herbvory.
How many species of host-specific insects feed on a species of tropical tree?
It is concluded that studies reporting the proportion of specialist insect herbivores associated with particular tropical tree species will yield only a portion of the information needed to estimate global arthropod species richness, but may be useful for elucidating certain aspects of food-web ecology in tropical rain forests.
Host specificity of arboreal and free‐living insect herbivores in rain forests
  • Y. Basset
  • Environmental Science, Geography
  • 1992
It is suggested that the strength of association between communities of insect herbivores and their rainforest host-trees may depend on the following factors, acting at both the tree and rainforest community level: chemical traits of foliage, young foliage availability and enemy-free space.
Habitat and successional status of plants in relation to the communities of their leaf‐chewing herbivores in Papua New Guinea
These results contradict several previous studies of successional trends in temperate regions and suggest that many tropical successions start with pioneer trees, rather than with annual herbs, and may present a permanent and predictable habitat for insects even at the earliest stages, with no advantage for polyphagous species.
The hypothesis that isolated individuals of a given plant species will escape their specialized herbivores and so survive better than individuals growing in clumps was found to be of only limited value because plants were attacked by a range of herbivore species.
Ecological Characterization of a Costa Rican Dry Forest Caterpillar Fauna
The dry forests of Costa Rica's Santa Rosa National Park range from deciduous and 2 m tall to nearly evergreen and 30 m tall, and this vegetation and a complex mosaic of secondary succession in old fields and pastures supports at least 3 140 species of caterpillars.
How many species of arthropods? Erwin's estimate revised
Erwin's much debated estimate of 30 million species of arthropods is revised, indicating a global arthropod species richness of 5–10 million species, and compares nicely with estimates derived from other estimation methods.
How many species
  • R. May
  • Environmental Science
  • 1990
Various approaches to estimating what the total number of species on Earth might be are outlined: these approaches include extrapolation of past trends; direct assessments based on the overall fraction previously recorded among newly studied groups of tropical insects; indirect assessment derived from recent studies of arthropods in the canopies of tropical trees.
Quantifying Biodiversity: Experience with Parataxonomists and Digital Photography in Papua New Guinea and Guyana
menting biodiversity (e.g., Stork 1993, May 1994, Blackmore 1996, Janzen 1997, Cresswell and Bridgewater 2000). A large part of this biodiversity is represented by insect herbivores feeding on
An Exuberance of Life. (Book Reviews: Plant-Animal Interactions. Evolutionary Ecology in Tropical and Temperate Regions.)
Tropical and Temperate Comparisons Mutualistic Relationships Between Plants and Animals Antagonistic Relationships Between Plants and Animals Plant-Butterfly Interactions Specificity in Plant