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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Systematic Entomology Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #391876

Research Project: Systematics of Beetles, Flies, Moths and Wasps with an Emphasis on Agricultural Pests, Invasive Species, Biological Control Agents, and Food Security

Location: Systematic Entomology Laboratory

Title: Biodiversity of parasitic Hymenoptera across sky islands of Arkansas, USA

item MONROE, ALLISON - University Of Montana
item HUBBARD, SIERRA - Oklahoma State University
item RODRIGUEZ, REYNOL - Hendrix College
item KUHNS, FAITH - Hendrix College
item MCCLUNG, MAUREEN - Hendrix College
item MORAN, MAUREEN - Hendrix College
item Gates, Michael

Submitted to: Environmental Entomology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/15/2022
Publication Date: 8/2/2022
Citation: Monroe, A., Hubbard, S., Rodriguez, R., Kuhns, F., Mcclung, M., Moran, M., Gates, M.W. 2022. Biodiversity of parasitic Hymenoptera across sky islands of Arkansas, USA. Environmental Entomology. 52:1-5.

Interpretive Summary: Parasitic wasps are important regulators of pest insect populations in agricultural and natural ecosystems. Knowledge of the composition and diversity of these wasps establishes an important baseline of knowledge that has implications for discerning invasive species and potential biocontrol agents. This paper reports on wasp diversity across "sky islands" in central North America. These areas often display highly diverse and unique plant and animal life. We studied parasitic parasitic wasp biodiversity on three sky islands in Arkansas. We found that species diversity was high, and community structure varied both within and between sky islands. This work will be used by foresters, entomologists, community ecologists, and conservation biologists.

Technical Abstract: Sky islands are often areas of endemism and high species diversity around the world. In central North America, the Ozark and Ouachita Highlands contain numerous modestly high elevational islands that are slightly cooler and wetter than surrounding lowlands and these areas are known to contain many unique species. We studied parasitic Hymenoptera biodiversity on three sky islands in Arkansas, both in canopy and understory strata of mature post oak forests. We found that species diversity was high, and community structure varied both within (canopy versus understory) and between sky islands. Each mountaintop showed a high level of distinctiveness with few species found in multiple locations. The high inter-sky island variation indicates that individual sky islands in the region harbor unique Hymenoptera assemblages, a pattern that likely extends to the broader insect community. Our study suggests that these highland areas are important regions of North American biodiversity and that they should be evaluated individually for conservation efforts in order to preserve their distinctive community structure.