Host specialisation and species richness of fruit flies (Diptera: Tephritidae) in a New Guinea rain forest

Novotny, Vojtech, Clarke, Anthony R., Drew, Richard A.I., Balagawi, Solomon, & Clifford, Barbara (2005) Host specialisation and species richness of fruit flies (Diptera: Tephritidae) in a New Guinea rain forest. Journal of Tropical Ecology, 21(1), pp. 67-77.

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Frugivorous dacine fruit flies were studied in a lowland tropical rain forest in Papua New Guinea to determine their host specificity, abundance, and the number of species attacking various plant species. Plant species hosted 0 – 3 fruit fly species at median (1 - 3 quartile) densities of 1 (0 - 17) fruit flies per 100 fruits. Fruit flies were mostly specialised to a single plant family (83% species) and within each family to a single genus (88% species), while most of the species (66%) were able to feed on >1 congeneric plant species. Only 30 from the 53 studied plant species were colonised by fruit flies. The plant-fruit fly food web including these 30 plant species and the total of 29 fruit fly species feeding on them was divided into 14 compartments, each including 1 - 8 plant species hosting mutually disjunct assemblages of fruit flies. This structure minimises indirect interactions among plant species via shared herbivores. The local species pool was estimated at 152 32 (SE) fruit fly species. Forty percent of all taxonomically described species known from Papua New Guinea were reared or trapped in our study area. Such high proportion indicates low beta-diversity of fruit flies. Steiner traps were highly efficient in sampling the lure-responsive fruit fly species as they re-collected 84% of all species trapped in the same area 5 years before. Fruit fly monitoring by these traps is a cheap, simple and efficient method for the study of spatial and temporal changes in rain forest communities.

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23 citations in Scopus
20 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 3259
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: beta, diversity, fruits, herbivore communities, insect–plant interactions, Papua New Guinea, species richness, Steiner traps
DOI: 10.1017/S0266467404002044
ISSN: 1469-7831
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES (060000)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2005 Cambridge University Press
Copyright Statement: Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Deposited On: 27 Jan 2006 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:13

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