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Title: A survey of the foliar and soil arthropod communities in sunflower (Helianthus annuus) fields in central and eastern South Dakota

item Lundgren, Jonathan
item BREDESON, MICHAEL - South Dakota State University

Submitted to: Journal of Kansas Entomological Society
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/31/2015
Publication Date: 10/1/2015
Citation: Lundgren, J.G., Bredeson, M.M. 2015. A survey of the foliar and soil arthropod communities in sunflower (Helianthus annuus) fields in central and eastern South Dakota. Journal of Kansas Entomological Society. 88(3):305-315.

Interpretive Summary: Sunflowers are an important crop that is native to North America and supports a wide variety of pest and beneficial insects, spiders, and other arthropods. To date, this community has been poorly described, especially in South Dakota. This is in spite of the importance of these arthropods in influencing when and where pests occur within this agroecosystems. More than 40,000 arthropods (nearly 500 species) were collected from the foliage and soil of 22 sunflower fields and were identified to species level. Beetles, wasps, spiders, flies, and true bugs were the most diverse groups in the sunflower canopy, whereas beetles, ants, true bugs, spiders, and flies were the most diverse groups in the soil. By far the more abundant taxa found were mites and springtails, two important detritivore groups in the soil. Pests were universally below economically threatening levels in the study. Bioinventories of this sort are an important baseline for more sophisticated community analyses, and for understanding how farm management and changes in the environment may affect farmland biodiversity.

Technical Abstract: The long coevolutionary history between sunflowers (Helianthus annuus, Asterales: Asteraceae) and arthropods in the Northern Great Plains has resulted in a commonly grown oilseed crop that harbors a large diversity of insects. A bioenventory of foliar and subterranean arthropods was performed in 22 sunflower fields over a period of three site years in central and eastern South Dakota. Overall, 483 morphospecies were collected. From foliage, 15 arthropod orders were observed. Those containing the greatest species diversity were Hymenoptera, Coleoptera, Hemiptera, Diptera and Araneae with 83, 58, 53, 40 and 30 morphospecies each, respectively. Subterranean arthropods from 19 orders were collected. The five orders containing the highest number of morphospecies were Coleoptera, Hymenoptera, Hemiptera, Araneae and Diptera containing 79, 17, 14, 11 and 9 morphospecies respectively. Although bioinventories can be expensive and time consuming tasks, the information gathered from these types of investigations has many uses, including efforts to assess the implications of pesticide use, wildlife conservation, land use- and climate- change on community structure in sunflowers.