Impact of urbanization on a gall-inhabiting Lepidoptera assemblage: The importance of reserves in urban areas

M. A. McGeoch, S. L. Chown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


This paper examines the structure of a Lepidoptera assemblage in an urban environment in South Africa. The Lepidoptera inhabit fungus-induced galls on Acacia karroo. Habitat patches supporting the moth assemblage were sampled from rural, urban-reserve, suburban and city sites and the habitat quality at each of these sites was quantified. Gall occupancy, larval density and species richness were lowest at the most disturbed, city sites. Non-parametric multivariate techniques showed that the moth-assemblage structure did not differ significantly at rural and urban-reserve sites. Assemblage structure at the suburban sites was variable and appeared to be transitional in structure between the city assemblage and the rural and urban-reserve assemblages. Habitat quality variables however were weakly correlated with moth-assemblage structure. The contribution of urban reserves to the local sustainability of this Lepidoptera assemblage emphasizes the importance of maintaining 'green' areas in and around cities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)979-993
Number of pages15
JournalBiodiversity and Conservation
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Gall-inhabiting Lepidoptera
  • Insect assemblages
  • Insect conservation

Cite this