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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2004

Host selection patterns in insects breeding in bracket fungi

Jonsell M, Nordlander G


1. Fungivorous insects are generally viewed as polyphagous, largely because most fungal fruiting bodies constitute an unpredictable resource. To examine the validity of this hypothesis, and degree of phylogenetic relatedness between the preferred hosts of the insects, host selection in the insect fauna of bracket fungi was studied, using data obtained both from the field and the literature. 2. More than half (53%) of the insect species breeding in them appeared to be monophagous. 3. Modern phylogenies explained the host selection patterns better than older classifications, since non-monophagous species of beetles frequently used hosts that are closely related to each other. 4. The hypothesis that polyphagous species use more heavily decayed fruiting bodies than monophagous species was verified for insects breeding in Forces fomentarius. The results indicate that the chemical composition of the fungi influences host selection. 5. It is suggested that fruiting bodies of bracket fungi differ from most other fungi in that their occurrence is more predictable. Therefore, the primary colonising fungivores generally attack only one host species, or a few hosts that are closely phylogenetically related. Polyphagous species generally colonise fruiting bodies after they have reached a certain stage of decay, thus escaping their chemical defence

Published in

Ecological Entomology
2004, volume: 29, number: 6, pages: 697-705

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Entomology
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Entomology

UKÄ Subject classification

Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use
Forest Science

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