Special Issue "Insects-Environment Interaction"

A special issue of Insects (ISSN 2075-4450).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Tania Nobre
Website
Guest Editor
Laboratory of Entomology ICAAM, Universidade de Évora, 7000 Évora, Portugal
Interests: insect interactions; symbiosis; pest management; sustainable agriculture; biocontrol
Dr. Sofia G. Seabra
Website
Guest Editor
cE3c - Centre for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Changes, Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade de Lisboa, 1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal
Interests: evolutionary biology; genomics of adaptation; population genetics; landscape genetics
Prof. Dr. Paulo A. V. Borges
Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Agrarian and Environmental Sciences, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of the Azores, Rua Capitão João D'Avila 9700-042 Angra do Heroísmo Terceira, Azores, Portugal
Interests: macroecology; community ecology (SADs; SARs); island biogeography; conservation; beetle taxonomy; bioespeleology; termite control; insect pollination
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Insects represent the largest and most diverse group of living organisms and are implicated in a wide spectrum of interactions within the environment that they inhabit. Understanding how insects adopt an appropriate adaptive response to changes in their environment will aid in conserving nature and ecosystem services and is also of benefit for agriculture and forestry. Insect–environment interactions comprise complex associations, ranging from symbiosis and pollination, to (multi)trophic relations and co-evolution of defenses, or to nutrient re-cycling and response to climate change. For this Special Issue, we invite the submission of original research papers and mini-reviews covering all aspects of insect–environment interactions, both in natural and agricultural systems.

Dr. Tania Nobre
Dr. Sofia G. Seabra
Prof. Paulo A. V. Borges
Collection Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 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

  • insects interactions
  • symbiosis
  • climate change
  • trophic interactions
  • adaptation

Published Papers (15 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Structure of the Assemblages of Spiders in Mediterranean Pear Orchards and the Effect of Intensity of Spraying
Insects 2020, 11(9), 553; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11090553 - 20 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 573
Abstract
Spiders are key predatory arthropods that are negatively affected by spraying pesticides in orchards. The aim of this research was to determine the structure of the community of spiders in pear orchards and the impact of the intensity of spraying. The study was [...] Read more.
Spiders are key predatory arthropods that are negatively affected by spraying pesticides in orchards. The aim of this research was to determine the structure of the community of spiders in pear orchards and the impact of the intensity of spraying. The study was carried out over three years in four pear orchards in southern Spain; two of them were conducted by ourselves with no or low-intensity spraying of insecticides, and two under the criteria of technicians (conventional). Spiders were sampled on pear trees by the beating method. The orchards hosted a rich community of spiders belonging to 13 different families and 51 genera. However, the genera Philodromus, Oxyopes, Cheiracanthium, Icius, and Neoscona accounted for 72% of the captures. Spiders were more abundant and had a higher richness of genera in the low-intensity spraying than in conventional orchards. Philodromidae, Salticidae, and Cheiracanthiidae experienced a significant population reduction in conventional orchards, while Araneidae, Linyphiidae, and Thomisidae were not significantly affected by the intensity of spraying. The wandering hunting mode could explain the negative impact on Philodromidae, Salticidae, and Cheiracanthiidae but does not explain the lack of effect on Oxyopidae and Thomisidae. No significant effect was found on any family of web builders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insects-Environment Interaction)
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Open AccessArticle
Arthropod Communities in Urban Agricultural Production Systems under Different Irrigation Sources in the Northern Region of Ghana
Insects 2020, 11(8), 488; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11080488 - 01 Aug 2020
Viewed by 702
Abstract
Urban and peri-urban agricultural (UPA) production systems in West African countries do not only mitigate food and financial insecurity, they may also foster biodiversity of arthropods and partly compensate for structural losses of natural environments. However, management practices in UPA systems like irrigation [...] Read more.
Urban and peri-urban agricultural (UPA) production systems in West African countries do not only mitigate food and financial insecurity, they may also foster biodiversity of arthropods and partly compensate for structural losses of natural environments. However, management practices in UPA systems like irrigation may also contribute to disturbances in arthropod ecology. To fill knowledge gaps in the relationships between UPA management and arthropod populations, we compared arthropods species across different irrigation sources in Tamale. During a 72-h sampling period, 14,226 arthropods were caught with pitfall traps and pan traps from 36 fields. These specimens comprised 13 orders, 103 families, 264 genera, and 329 taxa (243 identified species, 86 unidentified species) and categorized into five feeding guilds (carnivores, decomposers, herbivores, omnivores, and pollinators). Species richness, species accumulation curves, and diversity functions (richness, evenness, and dispersion) were calculated to characterize the arthropod community. Non-metric multidimensional scaling was applied to examine structural similarity of arthropod communities among sites. To account for the effects of soil-related data, we furthermore applied a redundancy analysis. Arthropods grouped according to the irrigation water source, whereby the dipterans were most dominant under wastewater conditions. Here, particularly the eye gnat, Hippelates pusio, a disease-causing vector for humans, accounted for the dipterans. The occurrence of three alien ant species suggested community shifts through invasive species, while the occurrence of seven ant species (at least one ant species occurred under each water source) that form mutualistic relationships with aphids highlighted future risks of aphid pest outbreak. Future studies on these taxa should specifically target their ecological and economic effects and potential countermeasures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insects-Environment Interaction)
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Open AccessArticle
Defense of Milkweed Bugs (Heteroptera: Lygaeinae) against Predatory Lacewing Larvae Depends on Structural Differences of Sequestered Cardenolides
Insects 2020, 11(8), 485; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11080485 - 31 Jul 2020
Viewed by 861
Abstract
Predators and parasitoids regulate insect populations and select defense mechanisms such as the sequestration of plant toxins. Sequestration is common among herbivorous insects, yet how the structural variation of plant toxins affects defenses against predators remains largely unknown. The palearctic milkweed bug Lygaeus [...] Read more.
Predators and parasitoids regulate insect populations and select defense mechanisms such as the sequestration of plant toxins. Sequestration is common among herbivorous insects, yet how the structural variation of plant toxins affects defenses against predators remains largely unknown. The palearctic milkweed bug Lygaeus equestris (Heteroptera: Lygaeinae) was recently shown to sequester cardenolides from Adonis vernalis (Ranunculaceae), while its relative Horvathiolus superbus also obtains cardenolides but from Digitalis purpurea (Plantaginaceae). Remarkably, toxin sequestration protects both species against insectivorous birds, but only H. superbus gains protection against predatory lacewing larvae. Here, we used a full factorial design to test whether this difference was mediated by the differences in plant chemistry or by the insect species. We raised both species of milkweed bugs on seeds from both species of host plants and carried out predation assays using the larvae of the lacewing Chrysoperla carnea. In addition, we analyzed the toxins sequestered by the bugs via liquid chromatography (HPLC). We found that both insect species gained protection by sequestering cardenolides from D. purpurea but not from A. vernalis. Since the total amount of toxins stored was not different between the plant species in H. superbus and even lower in L. equestris from D. purpurea compared to A. vernalis, the effect is most likely mediated by structural differences of the sequestered toxins. Our findings indicate that predator–prey interactions are highly context-specific and that the host plant choice can affect the levels of protection to various predator types based on structural differences within the same class of chemical compounds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insects-Environment Interaction)
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Open AccessArticle
Honeydew Deposition by the Giant Willow Aphid (Tuberolachnus salignus) Affects Soil Biota and Soil Biochemical Properties
Insects 2020, 11(8), 460; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11080460 - 22 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 579
Abstract
Infestation of willow plants by the giant willow aphid Tuberolachnus salignus (Hemiptera: Aphididae) is associated with copious deposition of sugar-rich honeydew under the plant canopy. We explored the effect of aphid honeydew on the soil biota and biochemical indicators in a two-year field [...] Read more.
Infestation of willow plants by the giant willow aphid Tuberolachnus salignus (Hemiptera: Aphididae) is associated with copious deposition of sugar-rich honeydew under the plant canopy. We explored the effect of aphid honeydew on the soil biota and biochemical indicators in a two-year field trial. Soil samples from under aphid-infested and control willow trees, as well as samples from black sooty mould spots under the aphid-infested willows were compared; soil samples before aphid inoculation were used as a baseline. The honeydew deposition had a positive effect on the total soil carbon (C), but not on the total soil nitrogen content or soil pH. Microbial biomass C, basal respiration, number of yeast colony forming units, and the geometric mean of activities for six enzymes were significantly higher in honeydew-affected soils than in the control treatment on both years. The honeydew deposition also increased soil meso-fauna abundance, especially in the black sooty mould spots. The soil biochemical properties, which differed before and after aphid infestation, showed considerable overlap between the first and second year post-infestation. The results highlight the cascading effects of T. salignus on soil biological activity and the importance of using a multitrophic approach to explore similar scenarios. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insects-Environment Interaction)
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Open AccessArticle
Fine-Scale Vegetation Characteristics Drive Insect Ensemble Structures in a Desert Ecosystem: The Tenebrionid Beetles (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) Inhabiting the Ulan Buh Desert (Inner Mongolia, China)
Insects 2020, 11(7), 410; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11070410 - 02 Jul 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 614
Abstract
In community ecology, ensembles are defined as phylogenetically bounded groups of species that use a similar set of resources within a community. Tenebrionids are a conspicuous faunal component of Asian deserts, but little is known about their community ecology. We investigated if tenebrionids [...] Read more.
In community ecology, ensembles are defined as phylogenetically bounded groups of species that use a similar set of resources within a community. Tenebrionids are a conspicuous faunal component of Asian deserts, but little is known about their community ecology. We investigated if tenebrionids associated with different plant species constitute ensembles with a different ecological structure. Sampling was done with pitfall traps placed beneath the most common plant species. Tenebrionid abundance patterns were modelled by fitting rank–abundance plots. The association between tenebrionid species and plant species was tested using contingency tables. Differences in ensemble diversity were investigated by diversity profiles. All ensembles were fitted by the geometric series model. Tenebrionid species were differently associated with different plant species. Diversity profiles indicate that different ensembles have different diversity patterns, because of differences in species relative abundance. Tenebrionids form different ensembles associated with the different dominant plant species. All these ensembles are, however, characterized by similar patterns of dominance, following the “niche pre-emption” model, and a steep decline in the diversity profiles. This indicates that similar environmental conditions lead to similar insect ensemble organization, although the most abundant species may vary, which suggests a role for microhabitat selection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insects-Environment Interaction)
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Open AccessArticle
Limited Effect of Management on Apple Pollination: A Case Study from an Oceanic Island
Insects 2020, 11(6), 351; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11060351 - 04 Jun 2020
Viewed by 746
Abstract
Intensive agricultural practices leading to habitat degradation represent a major threat to pollinators. Diverse management practices are expected to influence wild pollinator abundance and richness on farms, although their effect in perennial crops is still unclear. In this study, we assessed the impact [...] Read more.
Intensive agricultural practices leading to habitat degradation represent a major threat to pollinators. Diverse management practices are expected to influence wild pollinator abundance and richness on farms, although their effect in perennial crops is still unclear. In this study, we assessed the impact of management on apple (Malus domestica) pollination on an oceanic island, by comparing conventional (with and without herbicide application) and organic apple orchards. Pollinator visitation and pan trap surveys were carried out in six apple orchards in Terceira Island (Azores) and the landscape composition surrounding orchards was characterized. We also quantified fruit set, seed set and apple weight. We found no significant effect of management on insect visitation rates, whereas there was a negative association with increasing surrounding agricultural land. In contrast, management had an effect on species abundance, richness and diversity at the orchard level. Conventional orchards without herbicides showed higher abundance than the rest, but lower richness and diversity than conventional orchards with herbicides. Management had an effect on fruit set, but not on seed set or fruit weight. Our results suggest that management alone is insufficient for the overall improvement of apple pollination on an oceanic island, while landscape composition may play a relevant role. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insects-Environment Interaction)
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Open AccessArticle
Climate Change May Restrict the Predation Efficiency of Mesocyclops aspericornis (Copepoda: Cyclopidae) on Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae) Larvae
Insects 2020, 11(5), 307; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11050307 - 14 May 2020
Viewed by 642
Abstract
(1) Dengue is the most spread mosquito-borne viral disease in the world, and vector control is the only available means to suppress its prevalence, since no effective treatment or vaccine has been developed. A biological control program using copepods that feed on mosquito [...] Read more.
(1) Dengue is the most spread mosquito-borne viral disease in the world, and vector control is the only available means to suppress its prevalence, since no effective treatment or vaccine has been developed. A biological control program using copepods that feed on mosquito larvae has been practiced in Vietnam and some other countries, but the application of copepods was not always successful. (2) To understand why the utility of copepods varies, we evaluated the predation efficiency of a copepod species (Mesocyclops aspericornis) on a vector species (Aedes aegypti) by laboratory experiments under different temperatures, nutrition and prey-density conditions. (3) We found that copepod predation reduced intraspecific competition among Aedes larvae and then shortened the survivor’s aquatic life and increased their pupal weight. In addition, the predatory efficiency of copepods was reduced at high temperatures. Furthermore, performance of copepod offspring fell when the density of mosquito larvae was high, probably because mosquito larvae had adverse effects on copepod growth through competition for food resources. (4) These results suggest that the increase in mosquitoes will not be suppressed solely by the application of copepods if the density of mosquito larvae is high or ambient temperature is high. We need to consider additional control methods in order to maintain the efficiency of copepods to suppress mosquito increase. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insects-Environment Interaction)
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Open AccessArticle
Competing Vegetation Structure Indices for Estimating Spatial Constrains in Carabid Abundance Patterns in Chinese Grasslands Reveal Complex Scale and Habitat Patterns
Insects 2020, 11(4), 249; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11040249 - 16 Apr 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 744
Abstract
Carabid communities are influenced by landscape features. Chinese steppes are subject to increasing desertification processes that are changing land-cover characteristics with negative impacts on insect communities. Despite those warnings, how land-cover characteristics influence carabid communities in steppe ecosystems remains unknown. The aim of [...] Read more.
Carabid communities are influenced by landscape features. Chinese steppes are subject to increasing desertification processes that are changing land-cover characteristics with negative impacts on insect communities. Despite those warnings, how land-cover characteristics influence carabid communities in steppe ecosystems remains unknown. The aim of this study is to investigate how landscape characteristics drive carabid abundance in different steppes (desert, typical, and meadow steppes) at different spatial scales. Carabid abundances were estimated using pitfall traps. Various landscape indices were derived from Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) images. Indices expressing moisture and productivity were, in general, those with the highest correlations. Different indices capture landscape aspects that influence carabid abundance at different scales, in which the patchiness of desert vegetation plays a major role. Carabid abundance correlations with landscape characteristics rely on the type of grassland, on the vegetation index, and on the scale considered. Proper scales and indices are steppe type-specific, highlighting the need of considering various scales and indices to explain species abundances from remotely sensed data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insects-Environment Interaction)
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Open AccessArticle
Nest Site Selection during Colony Relocation in Yucatan Peninsula Populations of the Ponerine Ants Neoponera villosa (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)
Insects 2020, 11(3), 200; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11030200 - 23 Mar 2020
Viewed by 867
Abstract
In the Yucatan Peninsula, the ponerine ant Neoponera villosa nests almost exclusively in tank bromeliads, Aechmea bracteata. In this study, we aimed to determine the factors influencing nest site selection during nest relocation which is regularly promoted by hurricanes in this area. Using [...] Read more.
In the Yucatan Peninsula, the ponerine ant Neoponera villosa nests almost exclusively in tank bromeliads, Aechmea bracteata. In this study, we aimed to determine the factors influencing nest site selection during nest relocation which is regularly promoted by hurricanes in this area. Using ants with and without previous experience of Ae. bracteata, we tested their preference for refuges consisting of Ae. bracteata leaves over two other bromeliads, Ae. bromeliifolia and Ananas comosus. We further evaluated bromeliad-associated traits that could influence nest site selection (form and size). Workers with and without previous contact with Ae. bracteata significantly preferred this species over others, suggesting the existence of an innate attraction to this bromeliad. However, preference was not influenced by previous contact with Ae. bracteata. Workers easily discriminated between shelters of Ae. bracteata and A. comosus, but not those of the closely related Ae. bromeliifolia. In marked contrast, ants discriminated between similar sized Ae. bracteata and Ae. bromeliifolia plants, suggesting that chemical cues and plant structure play an important role. Size was also significant as they selected the largest plant when provided two dissimilar Ae. bracteata plants. Nest site selection by N. villosa workers seems to depend on innate preferences but familiarization with plant stimuli is not excluded. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insects-Environment Interaction)
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Open AccessArticle
Temperature Tolerance and Thermal Environment of European Seed Bugs
Insects 2020, 11(3), 197; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11030197 - 20 Mar 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 862
Abstract
Heteroptera, or true bugs populate many climate zones, coping with different environmental conditions. The aim of this study was the evaluation of their thermal limits and derived traits, as well as climatological parameters which might influence their distribution. We assessed the thermal limits [...] Read more.
Heteroptera, or true bugs populate many climate zones, coping with different environmental conditions. The aim of this study was the evaluation of their thermal limits and derived traits, as well as climatological parameters which might influence their distribution. We assessed the thermal limits (critical thermal maxima, CTmax, and minima, CTmin) of eight seed bug species (Lygaeidae, Pyrrhocoridae) distributed over four Köppen–Geiger climate classification types (KCC), approximately 6° of latitude, and four European countries (Austria, Italy, Croatia, Bulgaria). In test tubes, a temperature ramp was driven down to −5 °C for CTmin and up to 50 °C for CTmax (0.25 °C/min) until the bugs’ voluntary, coordinated movement stopped. In contrast to CTmin, CTmax depended significantly on KCC, species, and body mass. CTmax showed high correlation with bioclimatic parameters such as annual mean temperature and mean maximum temperature of warmest month (BIO5), as well as three parameters representing temperature variability. CTmin correlated with mean annual temperature, mean minimum temperature of coldest month (BIO6), and two parameters representing variability. Although the derived trait cold tolerance (TC = BIO6 − CTmin) depended on several bioclimatic variables, heat tolerance (TH = CTmax − BIO5) showed no correlation. Seed bugs seem to have potential for further range shifts in the face of global warming. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insects-Environment Interaction)
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Open AccessArticle
The Respiratory Metabolism of Polistes biglumis, a Paper Wasp from Mountainous Regions
Insects 2020, 11(3), 165; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11030165 - 04 Mar 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 726
Abstract
European Polistine wasps inhabit mainly temperate and warm climate regions. However, the paper wasp Polistes biglumis represents an exception; it resides in mountainous areas, e.g., in the Alps and in the Apennines. In these habitats, the wasps are exposed to a broad temperature [...] Read more.
European Polistine wasps inhabit mainly temperate and warm climate regions. However, the paper wasp Polistes biglumis represents an exception; it resides in mountainous areas, e.g., in the Alps and in the Apennines. In these habitats, the wasps are exposed to a broad temperature range during their lifetime. We investigated whether they developed adaptations in their metabolism to their special climate conditions by measuring their CO2 production. The standard or resting metabolic rate and the metabolism of active wasps was measured in the temperature range which they are exposed to in their habitat in summer. The standard metabolic rate increased in a typical exponential progression with ambient temperature, like in other wasps. The active metabolism also increased with temperature, but not in a simple exponential course. Some exceptionally high values were presumed to originate from endothermy. The simultaneous measurement of body temperature and metabolic rate revealed a strong correlation between these two parameters. The comparison of the standard metabolic rate of Polistes biglumis with that of Polistes dominula revealed a significantly lower metabolism of the alpine wasps. This energy saving metabolic strategy could be an adaptation to the harsh climate conditions, which restricts foraging flights and energy recruitment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insects-Environment Interaction)
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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle
How Bees Respond Differently to Field Margins of Shrubby and Herbaceous Plants in Intensive Agricultural Crops of the Mediterranean Area
Insects 2020, 11(1), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11010026 - 29 Dec 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1269
Abstract
(1) Intensive agriculture has a high impact on pollinating insects, and conservation strategies targeting agricultural landscapes may greatly contribute to their maintenance. The aim of this work was to quantify the effect that the vegetation of crop margins, with either herbaceous or shrubby [...] Read more.
(1) Intensive agriculture has a high impact on pollinating insects, and conservation strategies targeting agricultural landscapes may greatly contribute to their maintenance. The aim of this work was to quantify the effect that the vegetation of crop margins, with either herbaceous or shrubby plants, had on the abundance and diversity of bees in comparison to non-restored margins. (2) The work was carried out in an area of intensive agriculture in southern Spain. Bees were monitored visually and using pan traps, and floral resources were quantified in crop margins for two years. (3) An increase in the abundance and diversity of wild bees in restored margins was registered, compared to non-restored margins. Significant differences in the structure of bee communities were found between shrubby and herbaceous margins. Apis mellifera and mining bees were found to be more polylectic than wild Apidae and Megachilidae. The abundance of A. mellifera and mining bees was correlated to the total floral resources, in particular, to those offered by the Boraginaceae and Brassicaceae; wild Apidae and Megachilidae were associated with the Lamiaceae. (4) This work emphasises the importance of floral diversity and shrubby plants for the maintenance of rich bee communities in Mediterranean agricultural landscapes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insects-Environment Interaction)
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Open AccessArticle
Response to Multiple Stressors: Enhanced Tolerance of Neoseiulus barkeri Hughes (Acari: Phytoseiidae) to Heat and Desiccation Stress through Acclimation
Insects 2019, 10(12), 449; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects10120449 - 13 Dec 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 663
Abstract
Organisms are always confronted with multiple stressors simultaneously. Combinations of stressors, rather than single stressor, may be more appropriate in evaluating the stress they experience. N. barkeri is one of predatory mite species that are commercialized for controlling spider mites. However, their biological [...] Read more.
Organisms are always confronted with multiple stressors simultaneously. Combinations of stressors, rather than single stressor, may be more appropriate in evaluating the stress they experience. N. barkeri is one of predatory mite species that are commercialized for controlling spider mites. However, their biological control efficiency was often reduced because of high temperature and desiccation in summer. To understand how to improve the tolerance of N. barkeri to combined heat and desiccation stress, we pre-exposed the adult female of N. barkeri to high temperature, desiccation and high temperature × desiccation stress for acclimation. After proper recovery time, mites were subjected to high temperature × desiccation stress again to detect the acclimation effects. The results are as follows: (1) No decrease in mortality rate were observed under high temperature × desiccation stress after heat acclimation. Instead, it increased significantly with acclimation temperature and time. (2) Dehydration acclimation both at 25 °C and high temperatures reduced mortality rate under high temperature × desiccation stress. Mortality rate was only significantly correlated with the amount of water loss, but not with temperature or water loss rate in acclimation, suggesting the increased tolerance is related to dehydration stress rather than heat stress. Among all acclimations, chronic dehydration at 25 °C, 50% relative humidity were the most effective treatment. This study indicated dehydration acclimation is effective to enhance tolerance of N. barkeri to combined heat and desiccation stress, which can improve the efficiency of biological control under multiple stressors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insects-Environment Interaction)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
The Longevity of Colonies of Fungus-Growing Termites and the Stability of the Symbiosis
Insects 2020, 11(8), 527; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11080527 - 13 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 856
Abstract
The agricultural mutualistic symbiosis between macrotermitine termites and Termitomyces fungi is obligate for both partners. The termites provide a protective growth environment for the fungus by cultivating it inside their colony and providing it with foraged plant material. The termites use the fungus [...] Read more.
The agricultural mutualistic symbiosis between macrotermitine termites and Termitomyces fungi is obligate for both partners. The termites provide a protective growth environment for the fungus by cultivating it inside their colony and providing it with foraged plant material. The termites use the fungus for plant substrate degradation, and the production of asexual fruiting bodies for nourishment and re-inoculation of the fungus garden. The termite colony can reach an age of up to several decades, during which time it is believed that a single fungal monoculture is asexually propagated by the offspring of a single founding royal pair. The termite-fungus mutualism has a long evolutionary history dating back more than 30 million years. Both on the time-scale of a termite colony lifespan and that of the mutualistic symbiosis, questions arise about stability. We address the physical stability of the mound, the termite colony and the monoculture fungal garden during a colony’s lifetime. On the long-term evolutionary scale, we address the stability of the symbiosis, where horizontal transmission of the symbiotic fungus raises the question of how the mutualistic interaction between host and symbiont persists over generations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insects-Environment Interaction)
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Open AccessReview
Comparative Ecology of Hyalomma lusitanicum and Hyalomma marginatum Koch, 1844 (Acarina: Ixodidae)
Insects 2020, 11(5), 303; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11050303 - 13 May 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 815
Abstract
The genus Hyalomma belongs to the Ixodidae family and includes many tick species. Most species in this genus are African species, but two of them, Hyalomma lusitanicum and Hyalomma marginatum, are also found in Europe and, owing to their morphological similarity, it is [...] Read more.
The genus Hyalomma belongs to the Ixodidae family and includes many tick species. Most species in this genus are African species, but two of them, Hyalomma lusitanicum and Hyalomma marginatum, are also found in Europe and, owing to their morphological similarity, it is very difficult to tell them apart. This is a major concern because their phenology and vector capacities are quite different. Moreover, they share many habitats and both are currently spreading to new areas, probably due to climate change and animal/human movements. In this study, we review the described ecology of the two species and provide further interesting data on H. lusitanicum based on the authors’ experience, which could be useful in assessing the risk they pose to humans and animals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Insects-Environment Interaction)
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