Marino, P. C. and D. A. Landis. 1996. Effect of landscape structure on parasitoid diversity and parasitism in agroecosystems. Ecological Applications 6:276-284.

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The armyworm (Pseudaletia unipuncta) was used as a model host insect to explore the influence of agricultural landscape structure at two spatial scales on larval parasitoid species richness and rates of larval parasitism in southern Michigan. First, within fields, we compared parasitoid communities in maize fields near, and distant from, a hedgerow edge. Second, we replicated these studies within a complex landscape (agricultural fields of small size embedded in a landscape with abundant hedgerows and woodlots) vs. a simple landscape (agricultural fields of large size embedded in a landscape with few hedgerows and woodlots).

The structural differences between the simple and complex agricultural landscapes were characterized by analysis of aerial photographs and digital land-use data. After landscape analysis, three maize fields from each area were selected for the experimental studies. The complex landscape contained fields that were 75% smaller, had 63% more perimeter of wooded field edge per hectare of field area, and had 81% more field edge in wide hedgerow than fields in the simple landscape. Fields in the simple landscape had 74% and 53% more field edge in herbaceous roadside and crop-to-crop interfaces, respectively, than did fields in the complex landscape.

In the six selected maize fields, third and fifth instar P. unipuncta were released individually onto maize plants 5 m and 90 m from a hedgerow edge. Larvae were recovered after 4-5 d and reared in the laboratory to record parasitoid emergence. Parasitoid species diversity was similar in both landscape types (simple landscape: four species; complex landscape: five species). Mean percentage parasitism was significantly higher in the complex landscape than in the simple landscape(13.1% vs. 2.4%) but was not affected by the location within fields (near hedgerows vs. distant from hedgerows) in either landscape type.

DOI: 10.2307/2269571

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