Does host-plant diversity explain species richness in insects? A test using Coccidae (Hemiptera)

Lin, Yen-Po, Cook, Dianne H., Gullan, Penny J. and Cook, Lyn G. (2015) Does host-plant diversity explain species richness in insects? A test using Coccidae (Hemiptera). Ecological Entomology, 40 3: 299-306. doi:10.1111/een.12191

Author Lin, Yen-Po
Cook, Dianne H.
Gullan, Penny J.
Cook, Lyn G.
Title Does host-plant diversity explain species richness in insects? A test using Coccidae (Hemiptera)
Journal name Ecological Entomology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1365-2311
Publication date 2015-06
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/een.12191
Open Access Status
Volume 40
Issue 3
Start page 299
End page 306
Total pages 8
Place of publication Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Formatted abstract
1. The megadiverse herbivores and their host plants are a major component of biodiversity, and their interactions have been hypothesised to drive the diversification of both.

2. If plant diversity influences the diversity of insects, there is an expectation that insect species richness will be strongly correlated with host-plant species richness. This should be observable at two levels (i) more diverse host-plant groups should harbour more species of insects, and (ii) the species richness of a group of insects should correlate with the richness of the host groups it uses. However, such a correlation is also consistent with a hypothesis of random host use, in which insects encounter and use hosts in proportion to the diversity of host plants. Neither of these expectations has been widely tested.

3. These expectations were tested using data from a species-rich group of insects – the Coccidae (Hemiptera).

4. Significant positive correlations were found between the species richness of coccid clades (genera) and the species richness of the host-plant family or families upon which the clades occur. On a global scale, more closely related plant families have more similar communities of coccid genera but the correlation is weak.

5. Random host use could not be rejected for many coccids but randomisation tests and similarity of coccid communities on closely related plant families show that there is non-random host use in some taxa. Overall, our results support the idea that plant diversity is a driver of species richness of herbivorous insects, probably via escape-and-radiate or oscillation-type processes.
Keyword Adaptive radiation
Host breadth
Host-plant diversity
Insect-plant interactions
Phytophagous insects
Scale insects
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
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