, Volume 104, Issue 2, pp 207-217

Geographic and between-generation variation in the parasitoid communities associated with an invading gallwasp, Andricus quercuscalicis (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae)

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The knopper gallwasp Andricus quercuscalicis Burgsdorf 1783 (Hymenoptera: Cynipidae) has invaded western and northern Europe from southern and eastern Europe over the last 400 years. A. quercuscalicis has two alternating generations, which differ in phenology, structure, and host oak species. This study describes geographic variation in the community in the tiny catkin galls of the sexual generation on Turkey oak, Quercus cerris, and compares the patterns obtained with those in the community attacking the alternate agamic generation. As predicted from considerations of parasitoid recruitment to the communities of invading phytophagous insects (Cornell and Hawkins 1993), in its native range the sexual generation shows (1) higher parasitoid community species richness, (2) higher total mortality due to parasitoid attack and (3) a higher ratio of specialist to generalist parasitoid species than is evident in the invaded range. Counter to predictions, there is no indication that parasitoid community richness in the invaded range has increased with time since the arrival of the new host. Higher host mortality in the native range is due principally to a single specialist, Aulogymnus obscuripes Mayr 1877 (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae), and is not distributed evenly among parasitoid species which attack the gall-former only in this area. This contrasts with the community in Britain, where three principal generalist parasitoids cause approximately equal mortalities. The agamic gall contains a taxonomically and structurally diverse guild of parasitoid and inquiline species, associated with the changing resource provided by a large, long-lived, complex gall. In contrast, the sexual community includes a taxonomically and structurally narrow guild, associated with a resource which is structurally simple, small in size and short-lived. No parasitoid species attacks the gall-former in both generations. Surprisingly, in spite of these differences in the nature of the gall resource in the two generations, over their entire range (native and invaded) the parasitoid guilds of the two are equally species rich.