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The Number of Species of Insect Associated with Various Trees

T. R. E. Southwood
Journal of Animal Ecology
Vol. 30, No. 1 (May, 1961), pp. 1-8
DOI: 10.2307/2109
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2109
Page Count: 8
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The Number of Species of Insect Associated with Various Trees
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Abstract

1. The hypothesis is suggested that the number of insect species associated with a tree is a reflection of the cumulative abundance of that tree in the particular country throughout recent geological history (e.g. in the Quaternary period). This means that the dominant native trees will have most insect species, and recently introduced ones fewest. 2. General comparisons between the insect fauna of certain trees in Britain, Sweden, Russia and Cyprus support the hypothesis. 3. A more detailed test is made for Britain, where it is shown that the number of species of the major plant feeding orders of insects (Lepidoptera, Coleoptera and most groups of Hemiptera) associated with British trees is closely correlated with the number of records of their Quaternary remains recorded by Godwin (1956). 4. Using such data it is possible to eliminate the effect the history (cumulative abundance) of the tree on the number of insect species, when it is seen that some trees are evidently especially resistant or unsusceptible to insect colonization, and others probably the reverse.

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