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Phytophagous insect fauna of Onopordum spp. thistles in the south of Syria

Alewi, Y., Ibrahim, G., Almouemar, A.
Bulletin OEPP 2019 v.49 no.1 pp. 147-151
Coleoptera, Onopordum, aluminum, fallow, fauna, pastures, phytophagous insects, plant anatomy, population density, roadsides, surveys, Syria
Thistles from the genus Onopordum (Asteraceae) are of Mediterranean and Eurasian origin. They are very common in the south of Syria, in particular in Damascus and Al Suwayda, and are found in fallow fields, pastures, roadsides and neglected areas. In 2015–2017, several sites with large populations of Onopordum spp. were identified. Weekly surveys of some of the sites, mainly in the regions of Damascus and Al Suwayda, revealed a significant diversity of phytophagous insect species, some of which had a very high population density. A total of 29 insect species were detected, belonging to four orders and 21 families. The most abundant species were from the order Coleoptera. These were observed to be feeding on different plant parts of Onopordum spp. Purely endophagous species comprised 38% of the species observed on Onopordum spp., ectophagous species comprised 45% with 17% of species mixed ectophagous and endophagous. Species that only fed on Onopordum spp. represented 34% of all the species observed.