The population ecology of Trichochermes walkeri
The choice of insect species for intensive, long-term population studies has often been determined by their ecological, economic or conservation significance rather than their tractability for study. Practical considerations include ease of counting individuals at different life stages, of determining mortality factors, and of assessing what influences reproductive success, and the importance of local or large-scale movement on their abundance in time and space. Gall-forming insects have a number of advantages in terms of their suitability for population studies, and it was primarily ease of study which resulted in the choice of Trichochermes walkeri (Psylloidea: Triozidae) at the inception of this project in 1982. Prior to this choice being made, it was the serendipitous discovery of the then undescribed Leucopis (Diptera, Chamaemyiidae) predator of X walkeri which first revealed the potential for unravelling the population ecology of its psyllid prey.
KeywordsPopulation Ecology Generalist Predator Calcareous Grassland Water Trap Weather Factor
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