Ecology of herbivorous arthropods in urban landscapes

Annu Rev Entomol. 2010:55:19-38. doi: 10.1146/annurev-ento-112408-085351.


Urbanization affects communities of herbivorous arthropods and provides opportunities for dramatic changes in their abundance and richness. Underlying these changes are creation of impervious surfaces; variation in the density, diversity, and complexity of vegetation; and maintenance practices including pulsed inputs of fertilizers, water, and pesticides. A rich body of knowledge provides theoretical underpinnings for predicting and understanding impacts of urbanization on arthropods. However, relatively few studies have elucidated mechanisms that explain patterns of insect and mite abundance and diversity across urbanization gradients. Published accounts suggest that responses to urbanization are often taxon specific, highly variable, and linked to properties of urbanization that weaken top-down and/or bottom-up processes, thereby destabilizing populations of herbivores and their natural enemies. In addition to revealing patterns in diversity and abundance of herbivores across urbanization gradients, a primary objective of this review is to examine mechanisms underlying these patterns and to identify potential hypotheses for future testing.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arthropods*
  • Cities*
  • Ecosystem*
  • Population Density