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Carrion-frequenting arthropod communities across an urban-to-rural gradient in Oxford, Ohio.
Lewis, Robin*,1, Steinly, Bruce1, 1 Miami University, Oxford, OH
ABSTRACT- Several biological diversity investigations have been completed across an urban-to-rural gradient in Oxford, Ohio that includes sites at a business district, apartment complex, residential area, golf course, open-space reserve, and forest preserve. For the first time, arthropod decomposer communities were sampled weekly at each site from June 11 – July 16, 2002. The sampling method employed screened traps baited with rat carrion to attract a specific suite of arthropods. Samples were collected from plastic cups containing ethylene glycol, sorted, and identified to morphotype. Hypotheses were that arthropod richness, abundance, and diversity would be the greatest at the intermediate site of human influence, the golf course. Morphotype richness and abundance were tabulated and Shannon-Wiener Diversity Indices ( H ′ ) were calculated. During the June 18 – 25 sampling week, a total of 90 morphotypes were present among all sites. The most abundant families were in the Coleoptera (beetles), Diptera (two-winged flies), and Hymenoptera (wasps, bees, and ants). Richness and abundance peaked at the golf course with 52 morphotypes and 1,152 individuals, respectively. Whereas, diversity was highest ( H ′ = 2.89 ) at the rural forest preserve. Similar results are reported for the remaining four sampling weeks. Additionally, the distributions of Dermaptera (earwigs), Formicidae (ants), Histeridae (clown beetles), and Silphidae (carrion beetles) were discontinuous. Dermaptera were highly abundant at the urban sites, but entirely absent from the rural sites while Histeridae and Silphidae were only found at rural localities. These distributional differences suggest that further research into potential differences in abiotic and biotic environmental conditions among the study sites is warranted, as they may vary due to the degree of human influence along the gradient.
Key words: urban, arthropods, gradient