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Species richness of gall-inducing insects and host plants along an altitudinal gradient in Big Bend National Park, Texas

Blanche, KR and Ludwig, JA (2001). Species richness of gall-inducing insects and host plants along an altitudinal gradient in Big Bend National Park, Texas. American Midland Naturalist,145(2):219-232.

Document type: Journal Article
Citation counts: Scopus Citation Count Cited 17 times in Scopus Article | Citations

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Title Species richness of gall-inducing insects and host plants along an altitudinal gradient in Big Bend National Park, Texas
Author Blanche, KR
Ludwig, JA
Journal Name American Midland Naturalist
Publication Date 2001
Volume Number 145
Issue Number 2
ISSN 0003-0031   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-0034997466
Start Page 219
End Page 232
Total Pages 14
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract Insect-induced galls are observed on plants throughout the world, bur patterns of gall-inducing insect species richness are not random. In the USA and Brazil, species richness increases with decreasing altitude, which is associated with increasing temperature and aridity. ht a given elevation the number of gall-inducing insect species is also higher in drier habitats than mesic habitats. However, variations in the number of potential host plant species, related to soil fertility, may be the cause of these patterns, nor differences in temperature and aridity. We examined patterns of species richness of gall-inducing insects by counting the number of gall-inducing insect species and plant species, and measuring soil phosphorus, in replicate dry and mesic plots at five locations along an altitudinal aridity gradient in Big Bend National Park, Texas. Almost all galls were on woody plant species (trees or shrubs). We found the greatest number of gall-inducing insect species at intermediate elevations, and in more mesic habitats, rather than at low altitudes or in drier habitats. The number of woody plant species was also highest at intermediate elevations and in mesic habitats. Soil phosphorus was high at both extremes of the altitudinal gradient, where few gall-inducing insect species occurred. Our results show that patterns of species richness of gall-inducing insects may largely be a function of the number of woody plant species present. The chance of a gall-inducing insect finding its specific host plant species increases as the number of woody plant species increases. The effect of soil fertility requires further study but the findings suggest that high soil fertility does not favor gall-inducing insects.
Keywords diversity
vegetation
region
taxon
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1674/0003-0031(2001)145[0219:SROGII]2.0.CO;2   (check subscription with CDU E-Gateway service for CDU Staff and Students  check subscription with CDU E-Gateway in new window)
 
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