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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: IMPROVED FORAGE AND BIOENERGY PLANTS AND TECHNOLOGIES FOR THE CENTRAL USA Title: Characterization of the Arthropod Community Associated with Switchgrass (Poales: Poaceae) in Nebraska

Authors
item Schaeffer, Sandra -
item Baxendale, Frederick -
item Heng-Moss, Tiffany -
item Sitz, Ransom -
item Sarath, Gautam
item Mitchell, Robert
item Shearman, Robert -

Submitted to: Journal of Kansas Entomological Society
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 20, 2010
Publication Date: May 1, 2011
Repository URL: http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/54245
Citation: Schaeffer, S., Baxendale, F., Heng-Moss, T., Sitz, R., Sarath, G., Mitchell, R., Shearman, R. 2011. Characterization of the Arthropod Community Associated with Switchgrass (Poales: Poaceae) in Nebraska. Journal of Kansas Entomological Society. 84: 87-104.

Interpretive Summary: Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) is a perennial warm-season grass with great potential as a biomass energy crop. However, little is known about the potential pest and beneficial insects (arthropods) associated with switchgrass grown at a farm-level or as occurring on native sites. In this study a large number of insects were collected over two growing seasons from different switchgrass stands and catalogued. This research provides important baseline information on the arthropods associated with switchgrass and will be useful for developing effective and sustainable management strategies in the future.

Technical Abstract: Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) is a perennial warm-season grass, native to the North American Great Plains. Recently, this prairie grass has received increased attention as a potential biomass energy crop. Little is known about the arthropod community affecting switchgrass grown under either managed or minimally managed conditions. This information is essential for characterizing the arthropods associated with switchgrass and developing appropriate management strategies for potential pests. The objectives of this research were to identify the arthropods associated with switchgrass in Nebraska and to document the seasonal abundance of selected arthropods. In 2007 and 2008, arthropods were sampled from May through October using vacuum samples, soil cores, pitfall traps, and yellow sticky traps. Samples were collected from switchgrass stands managed for biomass production and from a native switchgrass at Nine-Mile Prairie in Lancaster County, NE. Over 120,000 arthropod specimens were collected, spanning 84 families. Thysanoptera and Hymenoptera comprised 60% of arthropods collected. Leafhoppers, grasshoppers, grass flies, and wireworms were the most abundant potential pests. Beneficial arthropods included ants, rove beetles, ground beetles, parasitoid wasps, and spiders. This research provides important baseline information on the arthropods associated with switchgrass. The goal is to develop effective and sustainable management strategies for the key arthropod pests affecting switchgrass grown in managed production systems and in native settings.

Last Modified: 12/21/2014
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