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Community structure, survival and mortality factors in arctic populations of Eupontania leaf gallers

Community structure, survival and mortality factors in arctic populations of Eupontania leaf gallers

Polar Biology ust; 25(8): 605-611

DOI: 10.1007/s00300-002-0387-6

We studied survival, mortality factors, and community structure of nine species of leaf-galling sawflies, Eupontania spp., living on ten willow species (Salix spp.) at six sites on the Russian arctic tundra. The sawfly species represented two different gall types: the viminalis-type, which forms pea-shaped galls on the underside of leaf blades, and the vesicator-type, which forms bean-shaped galls on both sides of the leaf blade. Gall communities in the northernmost site had only one parasitoid species, but up to six parasitoids were found at the southernmost site. Inquiline parasitoids were encountered only in the two southern sites. Survival of the larvae varied between 20.0 and 82.8% among galler species at different sites. Parasitoids were the most important mortality factor for the sawflies. They caused mortality of 7.8-65.4%, depending on galler species and site, and it was highest in the northernmost site. Plant-specific mortality varied from 1.7 to 28.4% by galler species and it tended to decrease towards the north. Mortality from parasitoids was greater in the vesicator-type gallers than in the viminalis-type gallers. The total mortality caused by parasitoids in the arctic communities does not appear to differ from that in the diverse southern communities of Eupontania in Middle Europe, Scandinavia and North America, despite the assemblage having only a few members in the Arctic. The largest difference between the southern and the northern communities was the lack of inquiline parasitoids in the north. Our data do not support the hypothesis that abiotic, rather than biotic, factors would be more important in determining the abundance of populations of herbivorous insects in the harsh arctic environment.

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Accession: 003684507

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