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Influence of forest decline on the abundance and diversity of Raphidioptera and Mecoptera species dwelling in oak canopies

Abstract : Trees in a state of decline exhibit a reduced foliage density and accumulate dead branches in their crowns. Consequently, forest decline can markedly affect both the habitats and sources of food for canopy-dwelling insects. The decline-induced increase in canopy openness may also modify the understory, shrub and ground layers, and have cascading effects on associated species. Flight interception traps and green Lindgren traps were used to survey the canopy-dwelling insects in stands of healthy and declining oak trees, in particular two insect orders: Raphidioptera, saproxylic insects associated with canopies, and Mecoptera, necrophagous or opportunistic species associated with the herbaceous or shrub strata. Overall, green Lindgren traps caught more of these insects than flight interception traps. The traps caught five species of Raphidioptera. Three of them, Subilla confinis, Phaeostigma major and, to a lesser extent, Phaeostigma notata, were more abundant in stands or plots with declining trees. However, the other two species of Raphidioptera, Atlantoraphidia maculicollis and Xanthostigma xanthostigma exhibited a reverse trend. Two species of Mecoptera, Panorpa germanica and Panorpa communis, were particularly abundant, but unaffected by the level of decline. Our results show that declining forests can either host more or fewer species of Raphidioptera with saproxylic larvae, whereas Mecoptera with ground-living larvae were unaffected. Seasonal phenology and sex ratio of the species are also discussed.
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Contributor : Christophe Bouget <>
Submitted on : Friday, October 9, 2020 - 3:34:41 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, February 16, 2021 - 12:09:44 PM

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Alexis Vincent, Pierre Tillier, Cecile Vincent-Barbaroux, Christophe Bouget, Aurélien Sallé. Influence of forest decline on the abundance and diversity of Raphidioptera and Mecoptera species dwelling in oak canopies. European Journal of Entomology, Czech Entomological Society, 2020, 117, pp.372-379. ⟨10.14411/eje.2020.041⟩. ⟨hal-02962893⟩



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