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      Response of insect parasitism to elevation depends on host and parasitoid life-history strategies.

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          Abstract

          How global warming will affect insect parasitoids and their role as natural enemies of insect pests is difficult to assess within a short period of time. Considering that elevation gradients can be used as analogues for global warming, we carried out meta-analyses of 27 correlations between parasitoid richness and elevation and 140 correlations between parasitism rate and elevation in natural and semi-natural environments. We also explored various covariates that may explain the observed responses. Both parasitism rates and parasitoid species richness significantly decreased with increasing elevation. The decrease was greater for ectoparasitoids and parasitoids of ectophagous insects than for endoparasitoids and parasitoids of endophagous hosts, possibly because these latter are better protected from adverse and extreme climatic conditions occurring at higher elevations. Although our results suggest an increase of parasitism with increasing temperature, other factors regulating herbivorous insects have to be considered before concluding that climate warming will lead to a decrease in pest density.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Biol. Lett.
          Biology letters
          The Royal Society
          1744-957X
          1744-9561
          Aug 23 2013
          : 9
          : 4
          Affiliations
          [1 ] CABI, 2800 Delémont, Switzerland.
          Article
          rsbl.2013.0028
          10.1098/rsbl.2013.0028
          3730616
          23760164

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