Plant-Feeding Hemiptera and Orthoptera Communities in Native and Restored Mesic Tallgrass Prairies

Authors

  • Kristine T Nemec,

    1. Department of Biology, University of Nebraska at Omaha, 6001 Dodge Street, Omaha, NE 68182-0040, U.S.A.
    2. Present address: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 106 S. 15th Street, Omaha, NE 68102, U.S.A.
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  • Thomas B Bragg

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biology, University of Nebraska at Omaha, 6001 Dodge Street, Omaha, NE 68182-0040, U.S.A.
      Address correspondence to T. B. Bragg, email tbragg@mail.unomaha.edu
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Address correspondence to T. B. Bragg, email tbragg@mail.unomaha.edu

Abstract

Aboveground Hemiptera and Orthoptera communities were compared among three native and three restored mesic tallgrass prairies along the Platte River in central Nebraska to assess both the relative success of restored sites and the relationship between insect and plant communities. Hemiptera and Orthoptera were sampled using sweep nets in early June, mid-July, and mid-August 2000. Plant species composition was assessed in early June and mid-August. A total of 89 Auchenorrhyncha (71 Cicadellidae, 15 Fulgoroidea, and 3 Membracidae) and 23 orthopterans (15 Acrididae and 8 Tettigoniidae) were collected. Eighty-five plant species were observed in combined study sites. Shannon diversity was significantly higher at restored prairie for Cicadellidae (H′= 1.38), Fulgoroidea (H′= 0.796), and Membracidae (H′= 0.290), which comprised the majority of individual insects collected, but significantly higher at native prairie for Acrididae (H′= 0.560) and Tettigoniidae (H′= 0.480) (p≤ 0.05). Species richness was comparable except for Acrididae which were significantly higher in restored prairie. Density of insects generally followed species diversity but was only significantly higher in restored areas for Membracidae. The number of remnant-dependent species collected was comparable for both native prairie (n= 15) and restored prairie (n= 15). These results suggest that, at least for Hemiptera, differences in insect communities between native and restored prairie may best be explained by the presence of insect host plants rather than by whether a site is native or restored.

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