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Conservation of hoverflies (Diptera, Syrphidae) requires complementary resources at the landscape and local scales

Moquet, Laura, Laurent, Estelle, Bacchetta, Rossana, Jacquemart, Anne‐Laure
Insect conservation and diversity 2018 v.11 no.1 pp. 72-87
Bombus, Lepidoptera, Syrphidae, adults, aphidophagous predators, deciduous forests, detritivores, ecosystem services, flowers, habitat fragmentation, habitats, heathlands, humans, insects, landscapes, larvae, pest control, pollinators, population dynamics, species diversity
Accumulating evidence shows that landscape fragmentation drives the observed worldwide decline in populations of pollinators, particularly in species of Lepidoptera and Hymenoptera. However, Little is known about the effects of landscape fragmentation on hoverfly (Diptera, Syrphidae) communities. Hoverflies provide varied ecosystem services: larvae contribute to waste decomposition (saprophagous species) and pest control (aphidophagous species), and adults pollinate a wide range of flowers. To determine how the diversity and quantity of resources for larvae and adults affect hoverfly abundance and species richness at three spatial scales, we recorded insect visitors of five target plant species in Belgian heathlands, habitats that have decreased considerably due to human activities. Hoverflies represented the most abundant visitors on two plant species, and the second most abundant visitors (after bumblebees) on the other target plant species. A large proportion of hoverflies observed were aphidophagous species associated with coniferous and deciduous forests. Resources for the larvae and floral resources for the adults influenced interactions among hoverflies and plants, but acted at different scales: larval habitat availability (distance to larval habitat) was relevant at the landscape scale, whereas adult resource availability (floral density) was relevant at the plot scale. Hoverfly abundance and species richness decreased with distance to larval habitat but increased with floral density. Moreover, landscape structure and composition had different effects according to hoverfly ecological traits. Landscape composition influenced aphidophagous but not saprophagous hoverflies, in that their abundance and species richness decreased with distance to forests. Maintenance of the interactions between plants and their hoverfly visitors requires complementary resources at both landscape and local scales.