Anatomy, reach and classification of the parasitoid complex of a common British moth, Anthophila fabriciana (L.) (Choreutidae) - NMS Research Repository
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Anatomy, reach and classification of the parasitoid complex of a common British moth, Anthophila fabriciana (L.) (Choreutidae)

27 April 2017

Abstract

The small plurivoltine moth Anthophila fabriciana is widespread and often abundant in Britain wherever its main larval foodplant, stinging nettle, occurs. It overwinters as a larva (first generation) then has one or more partly overlapping summer broods (notionally second generation). A total of 5017 larvae were collected and reared from widely distributed populations in Britain, and the resulting 2167 host mortalities due to parasitoids were assessed. Small collections of pupae were also made. Altogether 25 parasitoid species, including secondary parasitoids, were found. Larval parasitism was heaviest in the second generation. In each generation there was a dominant parasitoid that was absent from the other. Summary information on the developmental biology and host range (expressed quantitatively and resulting from very broad rearing programmes) for each parasitoid is given. They are classed as ‘absolute specialists’, ‘taxon oligospecialists’, ‘niche oligospecialists’, ‘niche generalists’, ‘casuals’ and ‘strays’. Both kinds of oligospecialists can be ‘paraspecialists’ if only one potential host occurs locally. Although constructing a quantitative food web is not appropriate, providing both source web and sink web data in quantitative form enables the parasitoid complex to be understood in the wider context of the ecosystem, necessary for both biodiversity and nature conservation interests. In Appendix 1, parasitoids reared from other European Choreutidae are listed quantitatively.

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