The Biogeography of Herbivorous Arthropods: Species Accrual on Tropical Crops

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Species-area relationships, host plants, tropical crops, pool size, taxonomic isolation, arthropod accrual.

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1. The size of range of host plants and animals has been shown repeatedly to be the best single correlate of number of associated parasite species. For a single species of host distributed over many regions, there should exist two important additional correlates: the sizes of source pools of potential colonists within regions and the distribution of the host’s close relatives among regions.

2. Certain tropical crops are useful in examining these ideas because they are widely-cultivated and the relevant data are available. A comparison of the data for the herbivorous arthropods of cacao, citrus, coconuts, coffee, cotton, rice and sugar cane shows that regions in Amazonia, Southern AsiaIAustralia and sub-Saharan Africa consistently fall above species-area regression lines, whereas regions in North and South America (except Amazonia), Western Asia and Europe tend to fall below them.

3. The pattern implicates the importance of source pool size of potential colonists and taxonomic isolation of the host in influencing arthropod accrual.

4. Cultivation methods, sampling effects and latitude conceivably could also influence accrual, but their importance is questionable for the seven crop/parasite systems examined.

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Ecology Entomology, v. 8, issue 3, p. 303-313