Padovani, R.; Ward, L.; Smith, R. M.; Pocock, M. J. O.; Roy, D. B.

Insect species richness for each plant species and insect-plant interactions from the Database of Insects and their Food Plants [DBIF]

This dataset consists of 5,566 insect species associated with 817 native plant species, 162 archaeophytes, and 448 neophytes from the Database of Insects and their Food Plants (DBIF). The DBIF details approximately 47,000 interactions between phytophagous insect (and mite) species and plants recorded in Great Britain over the last century, based on a wide variety of sources, including entomological journals and field guides. The data here represents a reduced subset of the full DBIF (24,269 interactions), only including interactions resolved to the species level (insect species x associated with host plant species y). Furthermore, only plants with associated phylogenetic data and native status are included. Host plant distribution size is also included, in addition to a quantification of the distinctiveness of the insect communities found on a subset of the non-native plants.

Publication date: 2019-05-16

Get the data

This dataset will be available under the terms of the Open Government Licence

Format of the dataset : Comma-separated values (CSV)

You must cite: Padovani, R.; Ward, L.; Smith, R. M.; Pocock, M. J. O.; Roy, D. B. (2019). Insect species richness for each plant species and insect-plant interactions from the Database of Insects and their Food Plants [DBIF]. NERC Environmental Information Data Centre.


© Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (Natural Environment Research Council)


Study area
Temporal extent
1891-01-01    to    1988-12-31

Supplemental information

Other useful information regarding this dataset:

A collation of published interactions between Great Britain 's invertebrate herbivores (insects and mites) and their host plants.

Provenance & quality

For a full description of all processes involved in data collection/generation see the supporting documentation. In summary, the following processes were applied to the full DBIF dataset in order to generate this dataset:
Only data on ‘higher plants’ (flowering plants and ferns) were included. All records not at a species level were removed, and all sub-species/cultivar/variety information were ‘upgraded’ to the species level. Several sources were used to group together plant and insect species listed under different synonyms. Native status and introduction dates (for neophytes) were assigned to plants from several data sources, with plants classified as neophyte (non-native, arrived post-1500), archaeophyte (non-native, arrived pre-1500), or native (primarily Holocene colonists). Distribution size was quantified as the number of hectads (10 x 10 km grid squares) that a plant was recorded in between 1987-1999 (within Great Britain including the Isle of Man – vice counties 1-112). Phylogenetic relationships between plants were trimmed from a recently published global phylogeny of vascular plants, producing a custom phylogeny. Four phylogenetic isolation measures were calculated. Insect community distinctiveness was defined as the Chao-Sorensen abundance-based dissimilarity between the insect community on a given non-native host, and the insect pool found on native plants within the DBIF. Only plants that hosted an insect richness ≥ 10 were included, ensuring that host plants had been sufficiently sampled for dissimilarity calculations. All DBIF data sources were trimmed down to the article level by removing page number information.

Correspondence/contact details

Padovani, R.
University of York


Padovani, R.
The University of York
Ward, L.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Smith, R. M.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Pocock, M. J. O.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Roy, D. B.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology

Other contacts

Environmental Information Data Centre
NERC Environmental Information Data Centre


Spatial representation type
Tabular (text)
Spatial reference system
OSGB 1936 / British National Grid


Topic categories
Biodiversity conservation biology,  entomology,  environmental change,  macroecology,  phylogenetics,  phytophagous
Environmental Monitoring Facilities