Insect biodiversity reduction of pinewoods in southern Greece caused by the pine scale (Marchalina hellenica)

Panos V. Petrakis, Kostas Spanos, Alan Feest


This paper deals with the impact of the pine scale (Marchalina hellenica Gennadius, Hemiptera, Sternorrhyncha, Margarodidae) on the insect biodiversity of pinewoods in Attica, Greece. The comparison of biodiversities was done by estimating the biodiversity by the Ewens-Caswell V statistic in a set of nine sites each containing two linetransects. Transects pairs went through free and infested pinewoods from the pine scale and each one had several tenth hectare plots on both sides. The ecosystem temperature (= disorder) of the sites was computed and found high, together with the idiosyncratic temperatures (= susceptibility to extinction) of the 158 species in order to detect local extinctions. The indicator values of insect species were computed on the basis of the relative cover of each plant species. The main findings of this study are (1) the reduction of insect species biodiversity because of the introduction of the pine scale, (2) the moderate increase of disorder in pine scale infested sites,(3) many insect species can characterize site groups but none of them can distinguish infested from pine scale free sites. The introduction of pine scale in pinewoods disturbs their insect fauna before its influence to the floristic composition and the associated vegetation structure appears. The causes behind this reduction of biodiversity and the anthropogenic influences are discussed.


biodiversity, pinewood, Pinus halepensis, anthropogenic disturbance, ecosystem temperature, species indicator value, pine scale, Marchalina hellenica

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DOI: 10.5424/fs/2011201-8924