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15 May 2020 Network structure of interactions between phytophagous mites and their host-plants in natural ecosystems in Brazil
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Abstract

Phytophagous mites represent a diverse group of Arachnida, however, the patterns of their interactions with their host plants remain little explored. Herein we compare structural patterns of plant-phytophagous mite networks of forest and open habitats in Brazil. We adopted network size, network connectance and network modularity to characterize plant-mite network structure. We analyzed 11 plant-mite networks composed by 106 mite species, 96 host-plant species, and 342 distinct interactions. Tetranychidae and Eriophyidae were the most speciose mite families while Euphorbiaceae and Fabaceae were the most relevant host-plant families, hosting 67 and 16 mite species, respectively. We did not find any differences in network size and modularity between biomes and habitat types. However, network connectance was lower for open vegetation habitats than for forest habitat networks. Open areas can constrain the selection of defensive traits by plant species, leading phytophagous mites to consume plant species more selectively, which generates low connectivity in networks of these environments. The small number of plant-mite networks described here highlights the need for more efforts to increase knowledge about plant mites in Brazilian natural vegetation.

© Systematic & Applied Acarology Society
Walter Santos de Araújo, Érica Vanessa Durães de Freitas, Luana Teixeira Silveira, and Rodrigo Damasco Daud "Network structure of interactions between phytophagous mites and their host-plants in natural ecosystems in Brazil," Systematic and Applied Acarology 25(5), 821-832, (15 May 2020). https://doi.org/10.11158/saa.25.5.4
Received: 6 December 2019; Accepted: 5 April 2020; Published: 15 May 2020
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