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Molecular analysis reveals high compartmentalization in aphid–primary parasitoid networks and low parasitoid sharing between crop and noncrop habitats

Abstract : The ecosystem service of insect pest regulation by natural enemies, such as primary parasitoids, may be enhanced by the presence of uncultivated, semi-natural habitats within agro-ecosystems, although quantifying such host–parasitoid interactions is difficult. Here, we use rRNA 16S gene sequencing to assess both the level of parasitism by Aphidiinae primary parasitoids and parasitoid identity on a large sample of aphids collected in cultivated and uncultivated agricultural habitats in Western France. We used these data to construct ecological networks to assess the level of compartmentalization between aphid and parasitoid food webs of cultivated and uncultivated habitats. We evaluated the extent to which uncultivated margins provided a resource for parasitoids shared between pest and nonpest aphids. We compared the observed quantitative ecological network described by our molecular approach to an empirical qualitative network based on aphid–parasitoid interactions from traditional rearing data found in the literature. We found that the molecular network was highly compartmentalized and that parasitoid sharing is relatively rare between aphids, especially between crop and noncrop compartments. Moreover, the few cases of putative shared generalist parasitoids were questionable and could be due to the lack of discrimination of cryptic species or from intraspecific host specialization. Our results suggest that apparent competition mediated by Aphidiinae parasitoids is probably rare in agricultural areas and that the contribution of field margins as a source of these biocontrol agents is much more limited than expected. Further large-scale (spatial and temporal) studies on other crops and noncrop habitats are needed to confirm this.
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Submitted on : Friday, November 13, 2015 - 8:14:11 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, October 19, 2021 - 10:34:54 PM

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Stéphane Derocles, Anne Le Ralec, Mathilde Besson, Marion Maret, Alan Walton, et al.. Molecular analysis reveals high compartmentalization in aphid–primary parasitoid networks and low parasitoid sharing between crop and noncrop habitats. Molecular Ecology, Wiley, 2014, 23 (15), pp.3900-3911. ⟨10.1111/mec.12701⟩. ⟨hal-01228834⟩

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