Document Details

Insect Families of British Columbia: Lepidoptera and Associated Orders
Scudder, Geoffrey G.E.
Arthropods dominate terrestrial ecosystems in diversity of type, diversity of function, and in abundance of individuals. In forested ecosystems in western North America, arthropods constitute about 85% of the species richness. Unfortunately, this is largely an invisible diversity, unless they become pests. However, these arthropods, mostly insects, participate in the functioning of all trophic levels, except primary production. They play essential roles in food chains, ecosystem function and ecosystem stability. Thus in order to understand the relevance of this vast diversity in sustainable forest management, and the effectiveness of stand-level structure and habitat in maintaining this diversity, it is essential to be able to identify the elements of this biodiversity. The aim of this research on the Insect Families of British Columbia is to develop user friendly, illustrated keys to all the families of insects in the province. The research deals with 29 Orders, and will provide synoptic descriptions, summaries of biology and ecology of some 520 families, highlighting their ecological role and economic importance. Initially approved for 5 years of funding by FRBC in 2001-02, it was supported 1 year (2001-02) by FRBC, then 1 year (2002-03) by FII and now one year (2004-05) by FSP: there was no funding in 2003-04. To date, the research has covered the Apterygota (17 families), Exopterygota (144 families), part of the Exopterygota (102 families), and this year is treating the 90 families of Coleoptera, over the next 2 years the aim is to consider the Diptera (98 families), Lepidoptera 56 families) and Neuropteroid insects (13 families), so completing the project. The Diptera (True Flies) includes not only phytophagous pests, such as gall midges (Cecidomyiidae), useful predators such as dance flies (Empidae) and robber flies (Asilidae), and parasites involved in natural biological control (Tachinidae), but also there are many families whose larvae are important in soil and litter biology. Being concerned with the processing of decaying vegetation and wood, these latter flies are essential elements of forest biodiversity. In the Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths), many forest ecosystem elements are economic pests, including the cutworms (Noctuidae), measuring worms or loopers (Geometridae), tent caterpillars (Lasiocampidae), ermine moths (Yponomeutidae) and tortricids (Tortricidae). The Neuropteroid insects include the well recognized natural biological control species of green lacewings (Chrysopidae) and brown lacewings (Hemerobiidae). The application last year addressed the them/topic 'Achieving sustainable ecosystems and biodiversity'. This precise them/topic is not listed as a priority this year, although them 1.0 'Ecosystem structure, function and processes, and biodiversity related to forest management' is closely related to this issue. Since arthropods, especially insects, constitute the major elements of forest biodiversity, this research on the 'Insect Families of British Columbia' is very relevant to topics such as 1.3 'Coarse filter approaches to maintaining biodiversity at the landscape level' and 1.4 'Effectiveness of stand-level structures and habitat in maintaining biodiversity'. Alternatively, it could also be viewed as relevant to theme 3.0 'Sustainable Forest Management Indicators, Targets, and Monitoring Systems:, especially topic 3.1 'Indicators and monitoring systems', insects being important indicators of biodiversity, riparian function, watershed function, ecological representation and habitat quality, etc.
Report Number
Final Technical Report (Overview)
Report - Lepidoptera Families and Associated Orders of British Columbia

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