Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Hexapod diversity on an urban university campus

Allen Sanborn, and Jason Maté-Nankervis, Barry University, School of Natural & Health Sciences, 11300 NE Second Avenue, Miami Shores, FL

A study of the hexapod biodiversity was performed on an urban university campus. The location of the study site within Miami-Dade County made it a good example for most of South Florida’s urban areas. Habitats included extensive turf/garden areas as well as a highly degraded pine scrub plot. Species were classified to the lowest taxonomic level possible. A total of 551 species representing 18 orders were collected and identified. The greatest species richness was represented in the Hemiptera (21.4%), Coleoptera (19.6%), Diptera (18.9%), Lepidoptera (18.9%) and Hymenoptera (13.2%) which together accounted for 92.0% of the total taxa collected. These same orders accounted for 83.8% of the 140 families represented. Biodiversity was also assessed indirectly through comparison with reported ant diversity beetle diversity from the region. The proportion of exotic ants (46%) is much greater than reported for other regional sites. The highly disturbed environment, the exotic flora and subtropical location all probably influence the proportion of exotics found. These data illustrate how human disturbance can alter hexapod fauna and the ease with which exotic species can be transplanted in a subtropical environment.

Species 1: Hymenoptera Formicidae Dorymyrmex bureni
Species 2: Lepidoptera Arctiidae Syntomeida epialis
Species 3: Hemiptera Cicadidae Diceroprocta olympusa