Who's who in the nests molded by Lobesia botrana on Daphne gnidium?


Abstract: In 2014 and 2015 we studied the ecology and behavior of Lobesia botrana (EGVM) on its wild host plant Daphne gnidium (DG), in the Natural Reserve of Migliarino-San Rossore-Massaciuccoli (Pisa, Italy). EGVM larvae build nests, which they live in, by rolling together the top leaves of the DG sprouts. In or around these nests we found about fifty species of herbivorous and carnivorous arthropods. EGVM is the most common among Lepidoptera, followed by Cryptoblabes gnidiella, Cacoecimorpha pronubana, Gymnoscelis rufifasciata and Phyllobrostis fregenella. The juvenile stages of these moths were parasitized by two species of Diptera and 17 species of Hymenoptera. In 2014 the total percentage of parasitization was 14.7%. EGVM and Campoplex capitator, the main larval parasitoid, accounted for 86.5% of the individuals obtained in our rearing programme. The rate of parasitization of C. capitator on L. botrana was about 12.2%. Moreover, Ancistrocerus auctus (Vespidae: Eumeninae) was repeatedly observed inspecting nests and trying to catch larvae inhabiting them.

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