Forest Habitats

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This chapter emphasizes to those orders of insects that feed on trees and the predators and parasitoids that consume these phytophagous species. Insects found primarily in soils, lakes, and streams; those that feed on other vegetation found in forests; and those that parasitize other animals are considered. Approximately half of the insect orders are directly or indirectly associated with trees. As with humans, insects use trees for food, shelter, support, and travel. Among all plants, trees present the most diverse habitats for insects to occupy. Insects feed on all parts of the tree, that is, vegetative structures such as leaves, stems, and roots and reproductive structures such as flowers, fruits, and seeds. Some insects are specialized to feed on phloem and/or xylem tissues, dead sapwood, and heartwood. Insects that feed on these structures and tissues vary in size from 1-2 mm to 6 cm. Life cycles can be completed in a few days or weeks or be prolonged for 50 years. Insects affect the growth rate and mortality of trees by feeding on various parts of the tree. Thus, they affect the life cycle of trees by influencing the size of the seed bank, the amount of recruitment, the growth of individuals in height and volume, and the reproduction and dispersal of the tree species. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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Encyclopedia of Insects