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Aquatic versus Terrestrial Insects: Real or Presumed Differences in Population Dynamics?

School of Geography, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC 3010, Australia
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Insects 2018, 9(4), 157; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects9040157
Received: 12 October 2018 / Revised: 29 October 2018 / Accepted: 30 October 2018 / Published: 1 November 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insect Population Dynamics: Theory & Practice)
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Abstract

The study of insect populations is dominated by research on terrestrial insects. Are aquatic insect populations different or are they just presumed to be different? We explore the evidence across several topics. (1) Populations of terrestrial herbivorous insects are constrained most often by enemies, whereas aquatic herbivorous insects are constrained more by food supplies, a real difference related to the different plants that dominate in each ecosystem. (2) Population outbreaks are presumed not to occur in aquatic insects. We report three examples of cyclical patterns; there may be more. (3) Aquatic insects, like terrestrial insects, show strong oviposition site selection even though they oviposit on surfaces that are not necessarily food for their larvae. A novel outcome is that density of oviposition habitat can determine larval densities. (4) Aquatic habitats are often largely 1-dimensional shapes and this is presumed to influence dispersal. In rivers, drift by insects is presumed to create downstream dispersal that has to be countered by upstream flight by adults. This idea has persisted for decades but supporting evidence is scarce. Few researchers are currently working on the dynamics of aquatic insect populations; there is scope for many more studies and potentially enlightening contrasts with terrestrial insects. View Full-Text
Keywords: dispersal; drift; insect flight; herbivory; outbreaks; oviposition; North Atlantic Oscillation; parasites; population cycles; population regulation dispersal; drift; insect flight; herbivory; outbreaks; oviposition; North Atlantic Oscillation; parasites; population cycles; population regulation
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Lancaster, J.; Downes, B.J. Aquatic versus Terrestrial Insects: Real or Presumed Differences in Population Dynamics? Insects 2018, 9, 157.

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