Saproxylic parasitoid (Hymenoptera, Ichneumonoidea) communities in managed boreal forest landscapes


Fredrik Stenbacka, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SE-901 83 Umeå, Sweden. E-mail:


Abstract.  1. Species of higher trophic levels are predicted to be more vulnerable to disturbances (e.g. by forestry) than their prey because of low population densities, extreme specialisation and reliance on intact trophic chains.

2. The aim of this study was to acquire some much-needed basic information on saproxylic parasitoids in boreal forest landscapes. To obtain reliable estimates of species richness, abundance, assemblage composition and host associations of saproxylic parasitoids in different stand types (clear-cuts, mature managed forests and old-growth reserves), we used two different methods (emergence traps and window traps).

3. Window traps caught more species and gave a better measure of the species pool in different stand types, while emergence traps were more suitable for detailed analyses concerning substrate requirements, hatching periods and to some extent host choice.

4. The general distribution pattern revealed no significant differences in species richness among stand types, but parasitoid assemblages were affected by forest successional stage. Idiobionts, dominated by Ontsira antica and Bracon obscurator, preferred clear-cuts over forested sites, while koinobionts, especially Cosmophorus regius, were more common in mature forests and reserves. We conclude that the stand types studied were complementary in assemblage composition, but that none held a complete assemblage of saproxylic parasitoids and we suggest that a range of successional stages be retained to help conserve the entire parasitoid community.