Spatial variability of hosts, parasitoids and their interactions across a homogeneous landscape

Anna Torné-Noguera, Xavier Arnan*, Anselm Rodrigo, Jordi Bosch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Species assemblages and their interactions vary through space, generating diversity patterns at different spatial scales. Here, we study the local-scale spatial variation of a cavity-nesting bee and wasp community (hosts), their nest associates (parasitoids), and the resulting antagonistic network over a continuous and homogeneous habitat. To obtain bee/wasp nests, we placed trap-nests at 25 sites over a 32 km2 area. We obtained 1,541 nests (4,954 cells) belonging to 40 host species and containing 27 parasitoid species. The most abundant host species tended to have higher parasitism rate. Community composition dissimilarity was relatively high for both hosts and parasitoids, and the main component of this variability was species turnover, with a very minor contribution of ordered species loss (nestedness). That is, local species richness tended to be similar across the study area and community composition tended to differ between sites. Interestingly, the spatial matching between host and parasitoid composition was low. Host β-diversity was weakly (positively) but significantly related to geographic distance. On the other hand, parasitoid and host-parasitoid interaction β-diversities were not significantly related to geographic distance. Interaction β-diversity was even higher than host and parasitoid β-diversity, and mostly due to species turnover. Interaction rewiring between plots and between local webs and the regional metaweb was very low. In sum, species composition was rather idiosyncratic to each site causing a relevant mismatch between hosts and parasitoid composition. However, pairs of host and parasitoid species tended to interact similarly wherever they co-occurred. Our results additionally show that interaction β-diversity is better explained by parasitoid than by host β-diversity. We discuss the importance of identifying the sources of variation to understand the drivers of the observed heterogeneity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3696-3705
Number of pages10
JournalEcology and Evolution
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020


  • beta-diversity
  • homogeneous habitat
  • host-parasitoid food web
  • local scale
  • spatial variation
  • species interactions
  • trap-nests


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