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Official Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society of Africa
Metamorphosis Volume 31 (2020), Part 3 Articles Caterpillar Rearing Group, Article: 1 - 20
Publication Date : 2020-11-03
Author/s : Hermann S. Staude, Marion Maclean, Silvia Mecenero, Rudolph J. Pretorius, Rolf G. Oberprieler, Simon van Noort, Allison Sharp, Ian Sharp, Julio Balona, Suncana Bradley et al.

Title :

An overview of Lepidoptera-host-parasitoid associations for southern Africa, including an illustrated report on 2 370 African Lepidoptera-host and 119 parasitoid-Lepidoptera associations

Abstract :

We present an overview of the known host associations of larval Lepidoptera for southern Africa, based on a database of 11 628 rearings, including all Caterpillar Rearing Group (CRG) records and other published records. Rearings per Lepidoptera family show some bias in the rearing effort towards the more conspicuous families, ectophagous groups and non-detritus-feeders but in general follow species diversity. Recorded Lepidoptera host associations per host family for southern Africa are shown. Data analyses revealed the following general trends: of the 20 most reared species 13 are polyphagous; Fabaceae are the most utilised plant family with 2 122 associations, followed by Asteraceae (600), Malvaceae (564) and Anacardiaceae (476); 98.8 % of hosts are vascular plants; and of the 19 most utilised host species 18 are common trees or shrubs. We discuss possible reasons behind these trends, particularly the high utilisation of Fabaceae and the widespread use of trees and shrubs as hosts. We compare recorded host species numbers with species diversity for the 19 most recorded host families and discuss possible reasons for the low utilisation of four plant families with an exceptionally low percentage of Lepidoptera host species / plant host species diversity. All Lepidoptera families for which more than 100 rearings have been recorded (21 families) utilise one (or two in the case of Pyralidae, Nolidae and Hesperiidae) plant family exponentially more than any of the other families, with resulting histograms forming hyperbolic curves, as are typical of distributions of taxonomic assemblages in nature. We calculate an exponential factor to quantify this phenomenon and show that for all 21 Lepidoptera families one host family is utilised 6–33 times more than the average use of other host families. In this paper, the larvae and adults of 953 African, mostly South African, Lepidoptera species reared by the CRG between January 2016 and June 2019 are illustrated together with pertinent host information. 119 Lepidoptera-parasitoid associations are reported, comprising seven hymenopteran families and one dipteran family. With the current data release, larval host association records are now available for 2 826 Lepidoptera species in the southern African subregion, covering about 25 % of the described fauna.

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Keywords:

Lepidoptera, Hymenoptera, Diptera, caterpillar, larva, moth, butterfly, South Africa, Africa, Afrotropical region, pupa, host, life-history, host-use, host-specialisation, parasitoid.

Citation :

COPYRIGHT NOTICE : Copyright © Lepidopterists' Society of Africa

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