Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

No long-term decrease in caterpillar availability for invertivorous birds in deciduous forests in Hungary

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


  • Csaba Béla Eötvös, University of Sopron
  • ,
  • Anikó Hirka, University of Sopron
  • ,
  • László Gimesi, University of Pecs
  • ,
  • Gábor L. Lövei
  • Csaba Gáspár, University of Sopron
  • ,
  • György Csóka, University of Sopron

Numerous recent studies report an alarming decrease in diversity, biomass, or abundance of arthropods in various habitats. Given that they are important food for other organisms, the ecological consequences of such a decline could be severe. We used data from the Hungarian Forestry Light Trap Network to examine whether the spring caterpillar biomass showed any long term (23–58 years) declining trend in oak-dominated forests. Light trap data for 43 selected macrolepidopteran species (suitable bird food in the larval stage) from six different locations were used for the estimation of the total available caterpillar biomass. Time series analyses showed strong year-to-year fluctuations, and over all locations and time windows there was an increasing rather than decreasing trend. The increase found at some locations may suggest increasing herbivore pressure and negative impacts on forest health. We conclude that foliage-feeding macrolepidopteran species with spring-developing larvae did not show a drastic decrease in recent decades, and food availability in the long term will not negatively influence the breeding success of birds in such forests.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1070
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

    Research areas

  • Arthropod abundance, Biomass, Broadleaved forest, Insectivore, Light trap, Long term trends, Temperate

See relations at Aarhus University Citationformats

ID: 222238168