Community ecology-original paper


, Volume 166, Issue 4, pp 1087-1098

First online:

Ecological correlates of the non-indigenous parasitoid assemblage associated with a Hawaiian endemic moth

  • Leyla V. KaufmanAffiliated withPlant and Environmental Protection Sciences, University of Hawaii at Manoa Email author 
  • , Mark G. WrightAffiliated withPlant and Environmental Protection Sciences, University of Hawaii at Manoa

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Understanding what ecological factors might predispose indigenous habitats to invasion by invasive species is an important aspect of conservation and invasive species management, particularly when biological control is considered for suppression of the invasive species. This study seeks to identify ecological factors that might play a role in determining the structure of the parasitoid assemblage associated with caterpillars of the endemic Hawaiian moth Udea stellata (Crambidae). Parasitoids were reared from field-collected U. stellata larvae at 18 locations. Fourteen environmental variables were measured at each site. Two multivariate analyses, principal component analysis (PCA) and partial redundancy analysis (RDA), were used to analyze the parasitoid assemblage across a range of habitats varying in environmental characteristics. The PCA analysis showed that the occurrence of some species were highly correlated, and associated with less disturbed sites, whereas other species were associated with sites of medium and high levels of disturbance. The RDA analysis showed that only three of the measured environmental variables (U. stellata density, elevation, and level of habitat disturbance) significantly explained variability in the parasitoid assemblage among sites. There was greater parasitoid species richness associated with U. stellata larvae at higher elevation sites with a lower degree of habitat disturbance by exotic vegetation. The purposely introduced parasitoid species were associated with the non-target moth at sites located at higher elevations with low levels of disturbance. Multivariate analysis has the potential to provide valuable insights into the identification of important environmental factors that mediate parasitoid assemblage structure and level of parasitism on a particular target or non-target species, and therefore facilitate identification of suitable target habitats or susceptible non-target habitats.


Non-target impacts Multivariate analysis Parasitoid assemblage Environmental variables Hawaiian archipelago