No tree an island: The plant-caterpillar food web of a secondary rain forest in New Guinea

Vojtech Novotny, Scott E. Miller, Jan Leps, Yves Basset, Darren Bito, Milan Janda, Jiri Hulcr, Kipiro Damas, George D. Weiblen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

52 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We characterized a plant-caterpillar food web from secondary vegetation in a New Guinean rain forest that included 63 plant species (87.5% of the total basal area), 546 Lepidoptera species and 1679 trophic links between them. The strongest 14 associations involved 50% of all individual caterpillars while some links were extremely rare. A caterpillar randomly picked from the vegetation will, with ≥ 50% probability, (1) feed on one to three host plants (of the 63 studied), (2) feed on < 20% of local plant biomass and (3) have ≥ 90% of population concentrated on a single host plant species. Generalist species were quantitatively unimportant. Caterpillar assemblages on locally monotypic plant genera were distinct, while sympatric congeneric hosts shared many caterpillar species. The partitioning of the plant-caterpillar food web thus depends on the composition of the vegetation. In secondary forest the predominant plant genera were locally monotypic and supported locally isolated caterpillar assemblages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1090-1100
Number of pages11
JournalEcology letters
Volume7
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2004

Fingerprint

New Guinea
caterpillar
secondary forests
rain forests
food webs
food web
insect larvae
vegetation
host plant
host plants
secondary forest
rain forest
basal area
generalist
partitioning
Lepidoptera
biomass

Keywords

  • Ecological succession
  • Herbivore communities
  • Host specificity
  • Insect-plant interactions
  • Invasive species
  • Lepidoptera
  • Malesia
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Species richness
  • Tropical forests

Cite this

No tree an island : The plant-caterpillar food web of a secondary rain forest in New Guinea. / Novotny, Vojtech; Miller, Scott E.; Leps, Jan; Basset, Yves; Bito, Darren; Janda, Milan; Hulcr, Jiri; Damas, Kipiro; Weiblen, George D.

In: Ecology letters, Vol. 7, No. 11, 01.11.2004, p. 1090-1100.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Novotny, V, Miller, SE, Leps, J, Basset, Y, Bito, D, Janda, M, Hulcr, J, Damas, K & Weiblen, GD 2004, 'No tree an island: The plant-caterpillar food web of a secondary rain forest in New Guinea', Ecology letters, vol. 7, no. 11, pp. 1090-1100. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1461-0248.2004.00666.x
Novotny, Vojtech ; Miller, Scott E. ; Leps, Jan ; Basset, Yves ; Bito, Darren ; Janda, Milan ; Hulcr, Jiri ; Damas, Kipiro ; Weiblen, George D. / No tree an island : The plant-caterpillar food web of a secondary rain forest in New Guinea. In: Ecology letters. 2004 ; Vol. 7, No. 11. pp. 1090-1100.
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