Differential ant exclusion from canopies shows contrasting top-down effects on community structure

Mestre L., Piñol J., Barrientos J.A., Espadaler X. (2016) Differential ant exclusion from canopies shows contrasting top-down effects on community structure. Oecologia. 180: 193-203.
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Doi: 10.1007/s00442-015-3442-z

Resum:

Predators have far-reaching effects on communities by triggering top-down trophic cascades that influence ecosystem functioning. Omnivory and intraguild interactions between predators give rise to reticulate food webs and may either strengthen or dampen trophic cascades depending on context. Disentangling the effects of multiple predator species is therefore crucial for predicting the influence of predators on community structure. We focused on ants as dominant generalist predators in arthropod communities and set up a differential ant exclusion from canopies to examine its effects on assemblage species composition and densities of five arthropod groups (psocopterans, aphids, spiders, heteropterans and beetles). We coupled a glue band with tubes allowing only the ant Lasius grandis to reach the canopies to isolate its effect from the rest of crawling predators (ants, earwigs) and compared it against a full exclusion and a control. L. grandis alone had widespread effects on assemblage species composition, with contrasting species-specific responses within groups, where some species affected by L. grandis presence were not further affected by the presence of the whole crawling predator assemblage, and vice versa. Overall, L. grandis caused two- to threefold decreases of generalist predators and a threefold increase of aphids. However, it lacked further top-down effects on primary consumers, which only emerged when all crawling predators were present. This differential exclusion demonstrates the distinctive and widespread intraguild effects on community structure of a single ant species that contrast with the top-down effects exerted by the whole crawling predator assemblage. © 2015, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

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Management implications of earwigs' overwintering sites in a Mediterranean citrus grove

Romeu-Dalmau C., Espadaler X., Piñol J. (2016) Management implications of earwigs' overwintering sites in a Mediterranean citrus grove. International Journal of Pest Management. : 1-6.
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Doi: 10.1080/09670874.2015.1129079

Resum:

To promote earwigs as natural enemies of pests, or to control their populations if they damage crops, earwigs can be managed during their overwintering period on the ground. Here, we obtained more than a ton of soil to study earwigs' overwintering sites in a citrus grove. We found four species of earwigs: Forficula pubescens, Euborellia annulipes, Euborellia moesta, and Nala lividipes. Surprisingly, and although the European earwig Forficula auricularia is abundant in the citrus canopies the rest of the year, we did not find any F. auricularia, indicating that this species spends the winter outside the citrus grove. Therefore, farmers willing to manage European earwig populations in citrus orchards need to consider the possibility that earwigs may spend the winter outside the field. Earwigs that were overwintering in the citrus grove were more abundant at the south side beneath the canopies than at the north side or between rows, indicating that management practices such as soil tillage can impact overwintering earwigs only beneath the canopies, but not between citrus rows. Overall, our results provide insights into how earwig populations can be successfully managed during winter in citrus orchards. © 2016 Taylor & Francis

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