In a recent study published in Ecology, John Lill and Robert Marquis (University of Missouri – St. Louis) investigated the role shelter-building caterpillars play in herbivorous insect communities living on white oaks. Previous studies have shown how caterpillars create and modify habitats through the construction of leaf shelters, increasing biodiversity around the leaves. In their study, Lill and Marquis wanted to see what effect shelter-building caterpillars had on the entire community living on oak saplings.
In Missouri alone, over forty species of caterpillars make their homes on oaks. The insects create a shelter by rolling, folding, or tying leaves together with silk or creating a silk tent that provides protection. The caterpillar Pseudotelphusa is often one of the first species to build leaf shelters on white oaks in the early summer, building its shelter by tying two leaves together. Once mature, the larvae drop onto the leaf litter below to pupate, the final stage of growth before emerging as a mature winged flying adult. Other caterpillars, including later emerging larvae of the same species, will utilize these preexisting homes and keep up maintenance of the structures.
By removing these early leaf shelters on some trees and adding them to others, with and without caterpillars, Lill and Marquis measured how the presence of shelters affected the community of insects inhabiting each tree. Comparing these test subjects with natural populations of white oaks, the researchers discovered that the removal of shelters led to a reduction of insect diversity for the entire season. The insects appeared just as attracted to oaks with artificial habitats as they were to shelters built by Pseudotelphusa.
Annie Drinkard | EurekAlert!
Loss of habitat causes double damage to species richness
02.04.2019 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
Deep decarbonization of industry is possible with innovations
25.03.2019 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
A stellar flare 10 times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter
A localization phenomenon boosts the accuracy of solving quantum many-body problems with quantum computers which are otherwise challenging for conventional computers. This brings such digital quantum simulation within reach on quantum devices available today.
Quantum computers promise to solve certain computational problems exponentially faster than any classical machine. “A particularly promising application is the...
The technology could revolutionize how information travels through data centers and artificial intelligence networks
Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley have built a new photonic switch that can control the direction of light passing through optical fibers...
Physicists observe how electron-hole pairs drift apart at ultrafast speed, but still remain strongly bound.
Modern electronics relies on ultrafast charge motion on ever shorter length scales. Physicists from Regensburg and Gothenburg have now succeeded in resolving a...
Engineers create novel optical devices, including a moth eye-inspired omnidirectional microwave antenna
A team of engineers at Tufts University has developed a series of 3D printed metamaterials with unique microwave or optical properties that go beyond what is...
17.04.2019 | Event News
15.04.2019 | Event News
09.04.2019 | Event News
18.04.2019 | Life Sciences
18.04.2019 | Physics and Astronomy
18.04.2019 | Life Sciences