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In urban areas, street trees provide a variety of ecological services, including biodiversity conservation. In this study we examined arthropod diversity on native and non-native street trees sampled during the fall of 2010 and spring of 2011 in McAllen, Texas, one of the most rapidly growing urban areas in the country. Eighty-eight street trees were sampled by removing arthropods from the lower canopy foliage using a hand held vacuum. Arthropods were collected into nylon bags, identified to order, and counted by morphospecies. Overall, street trees supported a significant and diverse population of arthropods: a total of 1,971 arthropods were collected, from which 12 different orders and 102 different morphospecies were identified. We found arthropod abundance was higher on street trees native to the Lower Rio Grande Valley compared to non-native trees, especially for beetles, wasps, bees, ants, and spiders. This difference was particularly striking in spring when trees were flushed with new growth. The significant deficiency of arthropods on non-native trees is indicative of their relatively low value for maintaining entomological fauna. Local land managers who aim to include biodiversity conservation in their efforts thus should enhance the urban forest through the conservation of existing native remnant trees and promoting the use of native tree species in landscaping.

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Subtropical Plant Science



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