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Keywords:

  • abundance;
  • biomass;
  • diversity;
  • Insecta;
  • Mexico;
  • Poaceae;
  • xerophilous scrub

Abstract

Increased understanding of the species–area relationship (SAR) can improve its usefulness as a tool for prediction of species loss for biodiversity conservation targets. This study was conducted: (i) to determine the best plant attribute for the SAR in the community of arthropods living within the grass Muhlenbergia robusta; (ii) to determine the contribution of phenophases of plant foliage (dry and fresh), shade and conspecific distance to the variation in arthropod richness within the plant; (iii) to determine the best functional model of changes in the abundance, diversity and biomass in communities of arthropods in response to increases in plant size; (iv) to determine the best host-plant attribute for prediction of these community attributes; and (v) to determine the effect of the plant phenophase, shade and M. robusta isolation on the abundance, diversity and biomass of the arthropod community. The above-ground dry weight of grass was found to be the best host-plant attribute for the SAR, while the light environment explained the arthropod richness within the grass, with higher richness observed in shaded environments. This study also showed that the best functional mathematical models for estimation of changes in the abundance, dry weight and diversity of arthropods in response to increases in grass size (dry weight) are the power model, exponential model and logarithmic model, respectively. Furthermore, the host-plant foliage phenophase, shade and the isolation of M. robusta with other conspecifics had no effect on the abundance, biomass or diversity per basal area of the grass.