Early-season movement dynamics of phytophagous pest and natural enemies across a native vegetation-crop ecotone

S. Macfadyen*, J. Hopkinson, H. Parry, M.J. Neave, F.J.J.A. Bianchi, M.P. Zalucki, N.A. Schellhorn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


There is limited understanding about how insect movement patterns are influenced by landscape features, and how landscapes can be managed to suppress pest phytophage populations in crops. Theory suggests that the relative timing of pest and natural enemy arrival in crops may influence pest suppression. However, there is a lack of data to substantiate this claim. We investigate the movement patterns of insects from native vegetation (NV) and discuss the implications of these patterns for pest control services. Using bi-directional interception traps we quantified the number of insects crossing an NV/crop ecotone relative to a control crop/crop interface in two agricultural regions early in the growing season. We used these data to infer patterns of movement and net flux. At the community-level, insect movement patterns were influenced by ecotone in two out of three years by region combinations. At the functional-group level, pests and parasitoids showed similar movement patterns from NV very soon after crop emergence. However, movement across the control interface increased towards the end of the early-season sampling period. Predators consistently moved more often from NV into crops than vice versa, even after crop emergence. Not all species showed a significant response to ecotone, however when a response was detected, these species showed similar patterns between the two regions. Our results highlight the importance of NV for the recruitment of natural enemies for early season crop immigration that may be potentially important for pest suppression. However, NV was also associated with crop immigration by some pest species. Hence, NV offers both opportunities and risks for pest management. The development of targeted NV management may reduce the risk of crop immigration by pests, but not of natural enemies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-118
JournalAgriculture, Ecosystems and Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • managing ecosystem services
  • agricultural landscape
  • biological-control
  • spatial scales
  • dispersal
  • colonization
  • predators
  • ecology
  • parasitoids
  • suppression


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