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Species richness for parasitoids of British phytophagous insects

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Abstract

Variation in the number of phytophagous insect species associated with different plant hosts has been examined for many insect and plant groups1–7. Here we extend such analyses to focus on the number of parasitoids and hyperparasitoids attacking British phytophagous insects. First, we examine a number of variables describing characteristics of the herbivores and their host plants. Then we construct a multiple regression model to order the variables and determine how much of the variance in parasitoid species richness we can account for. We find that host insects' feeding niche, geographical extent of study ('range'), the architecture of plants on which hosts occur and the taxonomic isolation of host insects each significantly affects the number of associated parasitoid species per host species, but only the first two variables were significant in the multiple regression. The final model accounts for 22% of the variance in parasitoid richness.

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