oa African Entomology - The Microlepidoptera associated with a fungus gall on Acacia karroo Hayne in South Africa



The microlepidopteran assemblage in galls of Ravenelia macowaniana Pazschke (Uredinales: Pucciniaceae) on Acacia karroo Hayne was examined locally (Pretoria) and regionally in South Africa, and compared with a similar Australian assemblage. Microlepidopteran larvae in the families Pyralidae, Noctuidae, Cosmopterigidae, Gelechiidae, Tortricidae, TIneidae and Oecophoridae, were recorded in the galls. Although the association is regionally widespread in South Africa, the local distribution of the fungus gall is patchy. The developmental stage of the galls determined their suitability as a resource for the lepidopteran larvae. Up to seven microlepidopteran species and a number of hymenopteran parasitoids were regularly found in the galls. Parasitism did not playa major regulatory role in the community, and despite recent reservations concerning the importance of interspecific competition in structuring herbivorous insect communities, necessary and sufficient conditions for competition between microlepidopteran larvae in the galls were fulfilled. Similarities found between the South African and Australian assemblages suggest common community structuring mechanisms.


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