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Density dependence and environmental factors affect population stability of an agricultural pest and its specialist parasitoid

Abstract : Host–parasitoid dynamics are intrinsically unstable unless the risk of parasitism is sufficiently heterogeneous among hosts. Spatial aggregation of parasitoids can contribute to this heterogeneity, stabilising host–parasitoid population dynamics and thereby reducing pest outbreaks. We examined the spatial distribution of mango gall fly (Procontarinia matteiana, Kiefer and Cecconi), a non-native pest of South African mango orchards, which is controlled by a single parasitoid (Chrysonotomyia pulcherrima, Kerrich). We assessed whether spatial aggregation of parasitoids is associated with proximity to natural vegetation and/or to host density-dependent and host density-independent factors at three spatial scales. We found evidence for higher parasitism rates near natural vegetation at the field scale, and inverse host-density dependent and density-independent parasitoid aggregation at both the leaf scale and field scale. Therefore, we conclude that natural vegetation plays a role in promoting stabilising aggregation of parasitoids, possibly through provision of non-host resources (nectar, pollen), in this system.
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William H. Morgan, Elisa Thébault, Colleen L. Seymour, F. J. Frank van Veen. Density dependence and environmental factors affect population stability of an agricultural pest and its specialist parasitoid. BioControl, Springer Verlag, 2016, 62 (2), pp.175-184. ⟨10.1007/s10526-016-9777-5⟩. ⟨hal-01512928⟩

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