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Similarities and Contrasts in the Local Insect Faunas Associated with Ten Forest Tree Species of New Guinea

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Title:Similarities and Contrasts in the Local Insect Faunas Associated with Ten Forest Tree Species of New Guinea
Authors:Basset, Yves
Samuelson, G.A.
Miller, S.E.
Date Issued:Apr 1996
Publisher:University of Hawaii Press
Citation:Basset Y, Samuelson GA, Miller SE. 1996. Similarities and contrasts in the local insect faunas associated with ten forest tree species of New Guinea. Pac Sci 50(2): 157-183.
Abstract:Insect faunas associated with 10 tree species growing in a submontane
area in Papua New Guinea are described and compared. In total,
75,000 insects were collected on these trees during the day and night by hand
collecting, beating, branch clipping, intercept flight traps, and pyrethrum knockdown
over a l-yr period. Association of chewing insects with the hosts was inferred
from feeding trials. Characteristics of the fauna associated with each tree
species are briefly outlined, with an emphasis on chewing insects. Four subsets
of data, of decreasing affinity with the host, were analyzed by canonical correspondence
and cluster analyses: (1) specialist leaf-chewers, (2) proven leafchewers,
(3) all herbivores (including transient leaf-chewers and sap-suckers),
and (4) all insects (including nonherbivore categories). Analyses of similarity
between tree species were performed using number of either species or individuals
within insect families. Analyses using number of individuals appeared
more robust than those using number of species, because transient herbivore
species artificially inflated the level of similarity between tree species. Thus, it is
recommended that number of individuals be used in analyses of this type, particularly
when the association of insects with their putative host has not been
ascertained. Not unexpectedly, the faunal similarity of tree species increased
along the sequence (1)-(2)-(3)-(4). Convergence or divergence in faunal similarity
among tree species certainly results from many factors. Among those
identified, successional status (which can be related more generally to the type
of habitat in which the host grows) appeared important for specialist leafchewers;
gross features of the host, such as leaf palatability and leaf weight
(related to leaf toughness), were important for leaf-chewers; features presumably
influencing insect flight and alighting (leaf area, probably related to foliage
denseness) seemed be important for all herbivores; and features related to host
architecture (tree height, type of bark) were important for all insects. Taxonomic
isolation and phylogeny of trees were clearly unrelated to faunal similarity,
even for specialist leaf-chewers. We discuss briefly from a conservation
perspective the loss of tree species in our system and the outcome for associated
insect faunas.
Pages/Duration:26 pages
Appears in Collections: Pacific Science Volume 50, Number 2, 1996

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