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Bull Entomol Res. 2005 Dec;95(6):579-87.

The role of large-scale spatially explicit and small-scale localized processes on the population dynamics of cereal aphids.

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Department of Biology, University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fuji.


A field-scale study of the spatially explicit interaction between the carabid Poecilus cupreus Linnaeus, and two common aphid species (Sitobion avenae (Fabricius) and Metopolophium dirhodum (Walker)) in winter wheat was conducted. All three species showed considerable spatial pattern at the field scale. Activity-density of P. cupreus was an order of magnitude higher in the central part of the field compared to its periphery. Where P. cupreus activity-density was highest, S. avenae and M. dirhodum population peaks were delayed. Additionally, in the case of M. dirhodum, lower maximum counts were evident where P. cupreus activity-density was highest. An analysis of the movement of individual P. cupreus using release-recapture indicated that those beetles within the centre of the field exhibited reduced displacement, which may have caused the generation or maintenance of spatial pattern. Crop density was also measured throughout the field. Although crop density had no large-scale spatial pattern, its variability at the small-scale was consistent with an influence on aphid population dynamics. This study demonstrates empirically that both large-scale spatially explicit and small-scale localized processes influenced aphid population dynamics simultaneously.

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