The Rangeland Journal The Rangeland Journal Society
Rangeland ecology and management
RESEARCH ARTICLE

The influence of shrub species and fine-scale plant density on arthropods in a semiarid shrubland

Alan B. C. Kwok A B and David J. Eldridge A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Centre for Ecosystem Science, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.

B Corresponding author. Email: info@naturestextures.com.au

The Rangeland Journal 38(4) 381-389 https://doi.org/10.1071/RJ15019
Submitted: 20 February 2015  Accepted: 5 April 2016   Published: 25 May 2016

Abstract

Plant-resident arthropods are closely tied to the distribution of their hosts across multiple spatial scales. Shrubs provide habitat for a range of arthropods, and variations within shrubland ecosystems may affect arthropod communities. We examined the role of shrub species and density in structuring arthropod communities in an encroached Australian woodland using two common and widespread shrub species, Turpentine (Eremophila sturtii) and Silver Cassia (Senna artemisioides subsp. filifolia). We found five times more arthropods (Psocoptera, Collembola and Hemiptera) on Eremophila compared with Senna. Furthermore, Psyllidae were found only on Eremophila. In total we recorded 39 Hemipteran species; 13 from Eremophila, 16 from Senna and 10 common to both shrub species. Each shrub species supported a unique arthropod assemblage, even though they grow in close proximity (<15 m). In contrast, we found limited effects of fine-scale plant density, with plants growing in low and high density supporting similar arthropod communities. Our study indicated that isolated shrubs in these woodlands support a variety of arthropods, and shrub species is a more important driver of arthropod community structure than fine-scale density.

Additional keywords: Collembola, Hemiptera, plant density, Psocoptera, resource concentration.


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