, Volume 67, Issue 3, pp 546–560 | Cite as

Measuring the host specificity of plant-feeding mites based on field data — a case study of the Aceria species

Full Paper Zoology


For the majority of eriophyoid species, host ranges have been established purely on the basis of collection records, usually without quantitative data. The aim of this study was to: (1) quantitatively examine published literature to explore whether relevant analyses of field-collected quantitative data were used to assess host specificity of herbivores; (2) propose a protocol for data analysis that could be applied to plant-feeding mites; (3) analyse host specificity of the grass-feeding Aceria species as a case study. Field data were collected in Central and Northern Europe over a period of 11 years, and included 73 grass species. For the eight Aceria species found, infestation parameters and host specificity indexes were assessed. Accumulation curves were calculated to study how the sampling effort influenced estimates of host specificity indexes. A literature analysis showed that among the studies that declared an aim of estimating the host range only 56% of them applied any quantitative analysis or informed on estimation reliability. The analysis of field-collected data and its interpretation showed the most complete and reliable conclusions about the host specificity of Aceria species when all indices were considered and, if available, other information about the mite’s ecology and biology. It was shown that estimates of host specificity could be strongly affected by sampling effort, and that several hundreds of samples should be collected for measuring the host specificity of grass-infesting mites, at least. Recommendations regarding host specificity estimation on the basis of field data are given.

Key words

Eriophyoidea host range infestation parameters normalized Rohde index Rohde index sampling effort taxonomic index 


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Copyright information

© © Versita Warsaw and Springer-Verlag Wien 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Animal Taxonomy and Ecology, Institute of Environmental Biology, Faculty of BiologyAdam Mickiewicz UniversityPoznańPoland
  2. 2.Department of Avian Biology, Institute of Environmental Biology, Faculty of BiologyAdam Mickiewicz UniversityPoznańPoland

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