Understanding insect foraging in complex habitats by comparing trophic levels: insights from specialist host-parasitoid-hyperparasitoid systems.

Affiliation

Wageningen University, Laboratory of Entomology, P.O. Box 16, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

Insects typically forage in complex habitats in which their resources are surrounded by non-resources. For herbivores, pollinators, parasitoids, and higher level predators research has focused on how specific trophic levels filter and integrate information from cues in their habitat to locate resources. However, these insights frequently build specific theory per trophic level and seldom across trophic levels. Here, we synthesize advances in understanding of insect foraging behavior in complex habitats by comparing trophic levels in specialist host-parasitoid-hyperparasitoid systems. We argue that resources may become less apparent to foraging insects when they are member of higher trophic levels and hypothesize that higher trophic level organisms require a larger number of steps in their foraging decisions. We identify important knowledge gaps of information integration strategies by insects that belong to higher trophic levels.

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