Apparent competition and insect community structure: Towards a spatial perspective
Morris RJ., Lewis OT., Godfray HCJ.
Competition has been widely discussed as a process that may structure communities of plants and animals. Its role in insect communities is less clear, especially as many insect species do not appear to compete for resources. However, such communities could still be structured by "apparent competition" where the species interact through shared natural enemies. We explore recent attempts to assess whether apparent competition may structure herbivorous insect communities. Communities can be described by quantitative food webs from which the potential for apparent competition can be inferred. We illustrate both the construction of a diverse quantitative food web and a field experimental test of apparent competition using our work on leaf-miner communities in Belize. We consider how a spatial perspective may be incorporated into our leaf-miner community research, and speculate about the shape of apparent competition kernels and their relevance for the structure of herbivorous insect communities. © Finnish Zoological and Botanical Publishing Board 2005.