U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


Date of this Version



J Insect Conserv (2010) 14:347–358


U.S. Government Work


Semi-natural grassland habitat fragments, such as those found on airports, might be important for arthropod conservation and biodiversity in urban ecosystems. The objectives of this study were to: (1) describe the arthropod communities present within the grasslands on the John F. Kennedy International Airport and (2) assess spatial and temporal variation in those arthropod communities. We collected arthropods using a vacuum sampler during 2003 and using sweep-net collection methods during 2003 and 2004. During 2003, a total of 1,467 arthropods, representing 17 orders and 68 families were found in vacuum samples. A total of 3,784 arthropods, representing 12 orders and 94 families were collected in sweep-net samples during 2003. In 2004, a total of 3,281 arthropods, representing 12 orders and 85 families were collected in sweepnet samples. Hemiptera, Orthoptera, and Diptera were the most abundant taxa, accounting for 47, 18, and 14% of all arthropods captured, respectively. We found evidence of spatial and temporal variation in arthropod abundance, in particular as noted by fluctuations in Orthoptera: Acrididae and Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha. Hemipteran family diversity was also influenced by habitat type. Grassland habitats on airfields, although influenced by anthropogenic factors (e.g., mowing), have the potential to provide abundant and diverse arthropod communities and might serve as a refugium for such species within urban ecosystems.

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