Importance of functional groups

Insects play an important role in ecosystems, becoming present at different levels of the trophic chain. The different taxa can be grouped into functional groups according to the attributes or ecological roles that they fulfil. A very important taxon is Hymenoptera, which includes wasps, bees, ants, etc. 

Studying species that form different functional groups is important to understand the ecosystem, so in the project on land-use variation, we have studied how the different functional groups vary in a disturbance gradient at Manu Learning Centre biological station.  

From all Hymenoptera collected, we classified 4 functional groups: predators, herbivores, pollinators, and parasitoids. The most representative families from the study were Vespidae, Ichneumonid, and Sphecidae. The Vespids are considered solitary or social predators, although there are some species that are Kleptoparasites from the social species’. The Ichneumonids are ectoparasiticides, endoparasitoids, or hyperparasitoids from insects or spiders. The Sphecids are parasitoids or solitary predators.

All these families present species that prefer a degree of disturbance, presenting a marked change in their communities. Therefore, to understand how these functional groups interact it is necessary to know how these families vary individually and then see more studies on how they interact.

Blgo. Javier Amaru Castelo.