Colonising aliens: Caterpillars (Lepidoptera) feeding on Piper aduncum and P. umbellatum in rainforests of Papua New Guinea

Vojtech Novotny, Scott E. Miller, Lukas Cizek, Jan Leps, Milan Janda, Yves Basset, George D. Weiblen, Karolyn Darrow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

43 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

1. Caterpillar assemblages feeding on two alien plants, Piper aduncum and P. umbellatum, were studied in lowland rainforest in Papua New Guinea and compared with assemblages from 69 species of native woody hosts, including congeneric P. macropiper. 2. Species richness of caterpillars feeding on P. aduncum (29 species per 1500 m2 of foliage) and P. umbellatum (36 species) was higher than the median richness for the 69 native hosts (23 species). 3. The probability that a caterpillar species colonised alien Piper increased with its host range from 3% for the species feeding on a single plant family to 92% for the species with host range > 10 plant families. 4. The assemblage on P. aduncum was dominated by a single species (Herpetogramma sp. near licarsisalis, Crambidae), which represented 48% of individuals, and also had a high proportion (34%) of rare species, collected as single individuals. This community structure was indistinguishable from that of a typical native host. In contrast, the P. umbellatum assemblage was unusual as no species represented > 10% of individuals. 5. The aggressive invasion by P. aduncum of early successional vegetation is not explained by a competitive advantage due to low herbivore load, as the abundance of caterpillars feeding on it was comparable to that of native pioneer plants. 6. The caterpillar assemblage on P. aduncum demonstrated that an assemblage indistinguishable from native assemblages in density, species richness, and dominance structure (but not in host specificity) can originate from the existing species pool in lowland rainforests on a recently established tree species in < 50 years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)704-716
Number of pages13
JournalEcological Entomology
Volume28
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2003

Fingerprint

Piper aduncum
caterpillar
Papua New Guinea
rainforest
rain forests
insect larvae
Lepidoptera
Piper
host range
Herpetogramma
lowlands
species diversity
Crambidae
pioneer species
introduced plants
host specificity
species richness
community structure
indigenous species
herbivores

Keywords

  • Enemy-free space
  • Escape from natural enemies
  • Herbivory
  • Host specificity
  • Invasive alien species
  • Malesia
  • Niche saturation
  • Non-indigenous
  • Rainforest succession
  • Species diversity

Cite this

Colonising aliens : Caterpillars (Lepidoptera) feeding on Piper aduncum and P. umbellatum in rainforests of Papua New Guinea. / Novotny, Vojtech; Miller, Scott E.; Cizek, Lukas; Leps, Jan; Janda, Milan; Basset, Yves; Weiblen, George D.; Darrow, Karolyn.

In: Ecological Entomology, Vol. 28, No. 6, 01.12.2003, p. 704-716.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Novotny, Vojtech ; Miller, Scott E. ; Cizek, Lukas ; Leps, Jan ; Janda, Milan ; Basset, Yves ; Weiblen, George D. ; Darrow, Karolyn. / Colonising aliens : Caterpillars (Lepidoptera) feeding on Piper aduncum and P. umbellatum in rainforests of Papua New Guinea. In: Ecological Entomology. 2003 ; Vol. 28, No. 6. pp. 704-716.
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abstract = "1. Caterpillar assemblages feeding on two alien plants, Piper aduncum and P. umbellatum, were studied in lowland rainforest in Papua New Guinea and compared with assemblages from 69 species of native woody hosts, including congeneric P. macropiper. 2. Species richness of caterpillars feeding on P. aduncum (29 species per 1500 m2 of foliage) and P. umbellatum (36 species) was higher than the median richness for the 69 native hosts (23 species). 3. The probability that a caterpillar species colonised alien Piper increased with its host range from 3{\%} for the species feeding on a single plant family to 92{\%} for the species with host range > 10 plant families. 4. The assemblage on P. aduncum was dominated by a single species (Herpetogramma sp. near licarsisalis, Crambidae), which represented 48{\%} of individuals, and also had a high proportion (34{\%}) of rare species, collected as single individuals. This community structure was indistinguishable from that of a typical native host. In contrast, the P. umbellatum assemblage was unusual as no species represented > 10{\%} of individuals. 5. The aggressive invasion by P. aduncum of early successional vegetation is not explained by a competitive advantage due to low herbivore load, as the abundance of caterpillars feeding on it was comparable to that of native pioneer plants. 6. The caterpillar assemblage on P. aduncum demonstrated that an assemblage indistinguishable from native assemblages in density, species richness, and dominance structure (but not in host specificity) can originate from the existing species pool in lowland rainforests on a recently established tree species in < 50 years.",
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AB - 1. Caterpillar assemblages feeding on two alien plants, Piper aduncum and P. umbellatum, were studied in lowland rainforest in Papua New Guinea and compared with assemblages from 69 species of native woody hosts, including congeneric P. macropiper. 2. Species richness of caterpillars feeding on P. aduncum (29 species per 1500 m2 of foliage) and P. umbellatum (36 species) was higher than the median richness for the 69 native hosts (23 species). 3. The probability that a caterpillar species colonised alien Piper increased with its host range from 3% for the species feeding on a single plant family to 92% for the species with host range > 10 plant families. 4. The assemblage on P. aduncum was dominated by a single species (Herpetogramma sp. near licarsisalis, Crambidae), which represented 48% of individuals, and also had a high proportion (34%) of rare species, collected as single individuals. This community structure was indistinguishable from that of a typical native host. In contrast, the P. umbellatum assemblage was unusual as no species represented > 10% of individuals. 5. The aggressive invasion by P. aduncum of early successional vegetation is not explained by a competitive advantage due to low herbivore load, as the abundance of caterpillars feeding on it was comparable to that of native pioneer plants. 6. The caterpillar assemblage on P. aduncum demonstrated that an assemblage indistinguishable from native assemblages in density, species richness, and dominance structure (but not in host specificity) can originate from the existing species pool in lowland rainforests on a recently established tree species in < 50 years.

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KW - Invasive alien species

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KW - Niche saturation

KW - Non-indigenous

KW - Rainforest succession

KW - Species diversity

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