Non-random distribution among a guild of parasitoids: Implications for community structure and host survival

Anthony M. Rossi, Melissa Murray, Kelly Hughes, Martin Kotowski, Daniel C. Moon, Peter Stiling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


1. Immature stages of the gall midge, Asphondylia borrichiae, are attacked by four species of parasitoids, which vary in size and relative abundance within patches of the gall midge's primary host plant, sea oxeye daisy (Borrichia frutescens). 2. In the current study, a bagging experiment found that the smallest wasp, Galeopsomyia haemon, was most abundant in galls exposed to natural enemies early in the experiment, when gall diameter is smallest, while the wasp with the longest ovipositor, Torymus umbilicatus, dominated the parasitoid community in galls that were not exposed until the 5th and 6th weeks when gall diameter is maximal. 3. Moreover, the mean number of parasitoids captured using large artificial galls were 70% and 150% higher compared with medium and small galls respectively, while stem height of artificial galls significantly affected parasitoid distribution. Galls that were level with the top of the sea oxeye canopy captured 60% more parasitoids compared with those below the canopy and 50% more than galls higher than the plant canopy. 4. These non-random patterns were driven primarily by the differential distribution of the largest parasitoid, T. umbilicatus, which was found significantly more often than expected on large galls and the smallest parasitoid of the guild, G. haemon, which tended to be more common on stems level with the top of the plant canopy. 5. Large Asphondylia galls, especially those located near the top of the Borrichia canopy, were more likely to be discovered by searching parasitoids. Results using artificial galls were consistent with rates of parasitism of Asphondylia galls in native patches of sea oxeye daisy. Gall diameter was 19% greater and the rate of parasitism was reduced by almost 50% on short stems; as a result, gall abundance was 24% higher on short stems compared with ones located near the top of the plant canopy. 6. These results suggest that parasitoid community composition within galls is regulated by both interspecific differences in ovipositor length and preferences for specific gall size and/or stem length classes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)557-563
Number of pages7
JournalEcological Entomology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • Asphondylia borrichiae
  • Borrichia frutescens
  • Community structure
  • Gall midges
  • Parasitoids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Insect Science


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