Special Issue "Arthropods in Desert Ecosystems"

A special issue of Insects (ISSN 2075-4450). This special issue belongs to the section "Insect Ecology, Diversity and Conservation".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 July 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Michal Segoli
Website
Guest Editor
Mitrani Department of Desert Ecology, The Swiss Institute for Dryland Environmental and Energy Research, The Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Ben‐Gurion University of the Negev, Midreshet Ben‐Gurion, Israel
Interests: insect behavioral and evolutionary ecology; insect endosymbionts; conservation; biological control; parasitoid wasps
Prof. Dr. Yael Lubin
Website
Guest Editor
Mitrani Department of Desert Ecology, The Swiss Institute for Dryland Environmental and Energy Research, The Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Ben‐Gurion University of the Negev, Midreshet Ben‐Gurion, Israel
Interests: arachnid ecology and behavior; desert ecology; sociality; breeding systems

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleague,

Most of our planet consists of arid and semi-arid regions that are likely to expand even further due to climate change and desertification processes. Desert environments impose challenging conditions on their inhabitants, including: water scarcity or unpredictable water supply; intense radiation; extreme temperatures; often high salinity; and low resource availability. Such conditions may have strong effects on arthropod diversity, distribution, and evolutionary adaptations. In this Special Issue, we will focus on arthropods in desert ecosystems (natural, semi-natural, and agricultural). We will address the question of how abiotic and biotic characteristics of different desert ecosystems shape the ecology of arthropods, especially species interactions, at all levels—behavior, physiology, populations, and communities.

Dr. Michal Segoli
Prof. Dr. Yael Lubin
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Insects is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • arthropods
  • desert
  • limitation
  • adaptation
  • diversity
  • life history
  • behavior
  • interactions

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Seed Predation on Oil-Polluted and Unpolluted Vachellia (Acacia) Trees in a Hyper-Arid Desert Ecosystem
Insects 2020, 11(10), 665; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11100665 - 28 Sep 2020
Abstract
Acacia trees are keystone species in many arid environments, supporting high levels of plant and animal diversity. In Israel, the populations of Vachellia (formerly Acacia) tortilis (Forssk.) and V. raddiana (Savi) are declining at an alarming rate. Severe infestations by bruchid beetles [...] Read more.
Acacia trees are keystone species in many arid environments, supporting high levels of plant and animal diversity. In Israel, the populations of Vachellia (formerly Acacia) tortilis (Forssk.) and V. raddiana (Savi) are declining at an alarming rate. Severe infestations by bruchid beetles (Coleoptera, Chrysomelidae) are among the major causes of seed mortality, but additional environmental stressors can reduce the defence level of the seeds, exacerbating their susceptibility to predators. In a hyper-arid desert ecosystem affected by two major oil spills (in 1975 and 2014), we quantified seed predation rates caused by insect granivores before and after the pods dropped to the ground. We recorded predation rates of up to 84% for both tree species, and higher predation rates at the ground level than in the canopy, suggesting that repeated infestations occur. These results reinforce the call to protect the populations of large ungulates such as gazelles, which kill the bruchids by feeding upon the pods, and promote seed germination and dispersion. We found no clear evidence of a negative effect of the oil spill on seed predation, indicating that oil pollution did not increase the vulnerability of the seeds to granivores even in trees affected by the recent oil spill. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Arthropods in Desert Ecosystems)
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Open AccessArticle
Parasitoid Abundance and Community Composition in Desert Vineyards and Their Adjacent Natural Habitats
Insects 2020, 11(9), 580; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11090580 - 01 Sep 2020
Abstract
Parasitoids are important natural enemies of many agricultural pests. Preserving natural habitats around agricultural fields may support parasitoid populations. However, the success of such an approach depends on the ability of parasitoids to utilize both crop and natural habitats. While these aspects have [...] Read more.
Parasitoids are important natural enemies of many agricultural pests. Preserving natural habitats around agricultural fields may support parasitoid populations. However, the success of such an approach depends on the ability of parasitoids to utilize both crop and natural habitats. While these aspects have been studied extensively in temperate regions, very little is known about parasitoid communities in desert agroecosystems. We took one step in this direction by sampling parasitoids in six vineyards and their surrounding natural desert habitat in a hyper-arid region of the Negev Desert Highlands, Israel. We predicted that due to the high contrast in environmental conditions, parasitoid abundance and community composition would differ greatly between the crop and the natural desert habitats. We found that parasitoid abundance differed between the habitats; however, the exact distribution pattern depended on the time of year—with higher numbers of parasitoids in the natural habitat at the beginning of the vine growth season and higher numbers in the vineyard at the middle and end of the season. Although parasitoid community composition significantly differed between the vineyard and desert habitats, this only accounted for ~4% of the total variation. Overall, our results do not strongly support the notion of distinct parasitoid communities in the crop vs. the desert environment, suggesting that despite environmental contrasts, parasitoids may move between and utilize resources in both habitats. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Arthropods in Desert Ecosystems)
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