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Gathering in an empty house : Arthropod assemblages overwintering in abandoned hornet nests

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Title: Gathering in an empty house : Arthropod assemblages overwintering in abandoned hornet nests
Authors: Furusawa, Chiharu Browse this author
Okamiya, Hisanori Browse this author
Keywords: arthropod assemblages
ecosystem engineer
global warming
winter ecology
Issue Date: 12-May-2022
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Journal Title: Ecosphere
Volume: 13
Issue: 5
Start Page: e4074
Publisher DOI: 10.1002/ecs2.4074
Abstract: Although some species of hornets spend enormous amounts of time constructing their nests, they only utilize the nest for one season and abandon it to overwinter in other habitats. Abandoned nests may be attractive habitats for other organisms to avoid predators and bad weather, but our knowledge of the organisms that make use of hornet nests for overwintering is very limited. Here, we examined the secondary inhabitants of abandoned winter hornet nests in northern part of Japan. A total of 96 live arthropods (5 orders, 23 species) were collected from six nests and were dominated by Araneae (85.4%). Our finding suggests that hornet nests serve as overwintering sites for many other organisms and that hornets may act as physical ecosystem engineers by creating overwintering habitats for other arthropods (mostly spiders). We predict that abandoned nests indirectly affect the prey community structure on trees, by providing overwintering sites for predatory spiders. In addition, reduced snow cover due to global warming may prevent nest collapse and enhance the ecological functioning of hornet nests. We emphasize that hornet nests present an ideal system for assessing how climate change alters communities through its effect on engineered structures. Further studies are required to clarify the role of hornets as ecosystem engineers among tree communities in fluctuating environments.
Type: article
Appears in Collections:北方生物圏フィールド科学センター (Field Science Center for Northern Biosphere) > 雑誌発表論文等 (Peer-reviewed Journal Articles, etc)

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