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Research article2018Peer reviewedOpen access

Related herbivore species show similar temporal dynamics

Blanchet, F. Guillaume; Roslin, Tomas; Kimura, Masahito T.; Huotari, Tea; Kaartinen, Riikka; Gripenberg, Sofia; Tack, Ayco J. M.


1. Within natural communities, different taxa display different dynamics in time. Why this is the case we do not fully know. This thwarts our ability to predict changes in community structure, which is important for both the conservation of rare species in natural communities and for the prediction of pest outbreaks in agriculture.2. Species sharing phylogeny, natural enemies and/or life-history traits have been hypothesized to share similar temporal dynamics. We operationalized these concepts into testing whether feeding guild, voltinism, similarity in parasitoid community and/or phylogenetic relatedness explained similarities in temporal dynamics among herbivorous community members.3. Focusing on two similar datasets from different geographical regions (Finland and Japan), we used asymmetric eigenvector maps as temporal variables to characterize species-and community-level dynamics of specialist insect herbivores on oak (Quercus). We then assessed whether feeding guild, voltinism, similarity in parasitoid community and/or phylogenetic relatedness explained similarities in temporal dynamics among taxa.4. Species-specific temporal dynamics varied widely, ranging from directional decline or increase to more complex patterns. Phylogeny was a clear predictor of similarity in temporal dynamics at the Finnish site, whereas for the Japanese site, the data were uninformative regarding a phylogenetic imprint. Voltinism, feeding guild and parasitoid overlap explained little variation at either location. Despite the rapid temporal dynamics observed at the level of individual species, these changes did not translate into any consistent temporal changes at the community level in either Finland or Japan.5. Overall, our findings offer no direct support for the notion that species sharing natural enemies and/or life-history traits would be characterized by similar temporal dynamics, but reveal a strong imprint of phylogenetic relatedness. As this phylogenetic signal cannot be attributed to guild, voltinism or parasitoids, it will likely derive from shared microhabitat, microclimate, anatomy, physiology or behaviour. This has important implications for predicting insect outbreaks and for informing insect conservation. We hope that future studies will assess the generality of our findings across plant-feeding insect communities and beyond, and establish the more precise mechanism(s) underlying the phylogenetic imprint.


asymmetric eigenvector maps; community dynamics; feeding guild; herbivory; host-parasitoid interactions; population dynamics; Quercus robur; voltinism

Published in

Journal of Animal Ecology
2018, Volume: 87, number: 3, pages: 801-812
Publisher: WILEY

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