Main content area

Local and landscape-scale heterogeneity shape spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii) activity and natural enemy abundance: Implications for trophic interactions

Schmidt, Jason M., Whitehouse, T. Seth, Green, Kirk, Krehenwinkel, Henrik, Schmidt-Jeffris, Rebecca, Sial, Ashfaq A.
Agriculture, ecosystems & environment 2019 v.272 pp. 86-94
DNA barcoding, Drosophila suzukii, bait traps, blueberries, canopy, diet, forests, habitats, landscapes, natural enemies, pests, predators, prediction, Southeastern United States
Like natural enemies, invasive polyphagous pests may respond positively to local and landscape-scale diversity, making them more serious challenges to sustainable management than specialists. Yet the current view of landscape effects on pests rarely considers perennial systems or polyphagous pests. We investigated Drosophila suzukii (SWD) and natural enemy distributions and trophic interactions in blueberry systems of the southeast US in relation to local management and landscape structure. Fields were nested in 1-km landscapes along gradients of crop and forest heterogeneity (landscape compositional diversity) and field border and crop border lengths (landscape configurational diversity). Yeast-sugar bait traps were used to collect SWD and canopy suction sampling for natural enemies. Management practices at the local scale did not influence SWD abundance, but natural enemy abundance was higher in organic systems and fields with vegetation present between rows. Landscape configurational diversity and greater proportion of non-cropping habitat promoted higher SWD populations. Natural enemy communities were composed of highly generalized species, and contrary to our predictions, we observed lower abundances in landscapes with higher proportion of non-cropping area. Few predators were detected to have fed on SWD, and communities were dominated by predators with low specialization on prey in blueberry. Our results indicate that local and landscape features in blueberry landscapes have differential effects on a polyphagous pest and generalist natural enemies. Our initial analysis of predator diets, using a metabarcoding approach, suggests spatial structure in specialization on prey with high diversity of prey in predators collected in forested margins.