Natural Vs Managed Habitat: Effect Over the Seed-Predator Pachymerus nucleorum and Its Natural Enemies

  • J O S SilvaEmail author
  • M L E Costa
  • B S Paixão
  • J D B Macêdo
  • P M S Rodrigues
  • E M F Lins-Neto
Pest Management


The licuri palm, Syagrus coronata (Martius) Beccari (Arecaceae), is widely distributed throughout the Brazilian Caatinga and has high cultural, socioeconomical, and ecological importance. The palm tree logging is prohibited by the Brazilian law, and thus isolated individuals are a common sight on managed pastures in the Brazilian semi-arid region. We aimed to compare the insect seed-predator Pachymerus nucleorum (Fabricius) (Bruchinae) abundance and its predation levels on S. coronata seeds between managed (pasture) and natural (Caatinga vegetation) habitats. We also monitored the parasitoid Heterospilus prosopodis (Viereck) (Braconidae) abundance and other P. nucleorum potential natural enemies (generalist predators and microhymenopterans). We tested the hypothesis that more complex and heterogenous habitats (i.e., with higher plant diversity) support higher abundance of potential P. nucleorum natural enemies. For such, we collected 600 fruits from each habitat and evaluated the seed predation level by P. nucleorum, as well as the P. nucleorum parasitism by H. prosopodis. The P. nucleorum abundance and its potential natural enemies were estimated using 122 sticky traps placed on the S. coronata individuals’ crown. Neither the P. nucleorum and generalist predators abundance differed between habitats, whereas the H. prosopodis and microhymenopterans abundance was higher in the natural habitat. Consequently, P. nucleorum parasitism levels by H. prosopodis were also higher in the natural habitat. Our study indicated that habitat with higher plant diversity supported more natural enemies, thus confirming that increased habitat homogenization leads to decreased parasitism levels by the less parasitoids number in managed habitats. Our results may subsidize conservationist management practices in the managed habitats aiming to improve fruit exploitation techniques sustainability and land-use practices, which would thereafter allow for the S. coronata population conservation in the Brazilian Caatinga.


Caatinga palm tree parasitoid sustainability tritrophic interaction 



We thank MV Morgado, ML Júnior, and CJ Pereira for field assistance. Finally, we thank the laboratory Núcleo de Ecologia e Conservação da Caatinga—NECC and Microbiology from UNIVASF for all the physical structure and logistical support. We thank Cibele Stramare Ribeiro Costa of the Laboratory of Systematic and Bioecology of Coleoptera (Insecta) of the Federal University of Paraná by Bruchinae beetle identification, and André Nascimento of the Universidade Estadual de Campinas-UNICAMP for the support in the H. prosopodis parasitoid identification.

Author’s Contribution

JOS, MLEC, PMSR, and EMFLS planned the research; MLEC, JOS, BSP, and JSBM conducted samplings; JOS, MLEC, and PMRS analyzed data and conducted statistical analyses; JOS, MLEC, PMRS, JSBM, and EMFLS wrote the manuscript; and JOS, PMRS, and BSP read, suggest, and approved the manuscript during revision.

Funding Information

This study was financed in part by the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior—Brasil (CAPES)—Finance Code 001.


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Copyright information

© Sociedade Entomológica do Brasil 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Colegiado de EcologiaUniversidade Federal do Vale do São Francisco (UNIVASF)Senhor do BonfimBrasil
  2. 2.Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciências da Saúde e Biológicas – PPGCSBUniversidade Federal do Vale do São Francisco (UNIVASF)Senhor do BonfimBrasil
  3. 3.Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ecologia e EvoluçãoUniversidade Estadual de Feira de Santana, Feira de Santana (UEFS)Feira de SantanaBrasil
  4. 4.Ciência e Tecnologia Baiano CampusInstituto Federal de EducaçãoSenhor do BonfimBrasil

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