Conserving herbivorous and predatory insects in urban green spaces

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Mata, Luis
Threlfall, Caragh G
Williams, Nicholas SG
Hahs, Amy K
Malipatil, Mallik
Stork, Nigel E
Livesley, Stephen J
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Insects are key components of urban ecological networks and are greatly impacted by anthropogenic activities. Yet, few studies have examined how insect functional groups respond to changes to urban vegetation associated with different management actions. We investigated the response of herbivorous and predatory heteropteran bugs to differences in vegetation structure and diversity in golf courses, gardens and parks. We assessed how the species richness of these groups varied amongst green space types, and the effect of vegetation volume and plant diversity on trophic- and species-specific occupancy. We found that golf courses sustain higher species richness of herbivores and predators than parks and gardens. At the trophic- and species-specific levels, herbivores and predators show strong positive responses to vegetation volume. The effect of plant diversity, however, is distinctly species-specific, with species showing both positive and negative responses. Our findings further suggest that high occupancy of bugs is obtained in green spaces with specific combinations of vegetation structure and diversity. The challenge for managers is to boost green space conservation value through actions promoting synergistic combinations of vegetation structure and diversity. Tackling this conservation challenge could provide enormous benefits for other elements of urban ecological networks and people that live in cities.

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Scientific Reports

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© The Author(s) 2017. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit

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