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J Insect Sci. 2012;12:20. doi: 10.1673/031.012.2001.

Abundance and diversity of soil arthropods in the olive grove ecosystem.

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CITAB, Centre for Research and Technology of Agro-Environment and Biological Sciences, University of Trásos-Montes and Alto Douro, Apt. 1013, 5001-801, Vila Real, Portugal.


Arthropods are part of important functional groups in soil food webs. Recognizing these arthropods and understanding their function in the ecosystem as well as when they are active is essential to understanding their roles. In the present work, the abundance and diversity of soil arthropods is examined in olive groves in the northeast region of Portugal during the spring. Five classes of arthropods were found: Chilopoda, Malacostraca, Entognatha, Insecta, and Arachnida. Captures were numerically dominated by Collembola within Entognatha, representing 70.9% of total captures. Arachnida and Insecta classes represented about 20.4 and 9.0%, respectively. Among the predatory arthropods, the most representative groups were Araneae and Opiliones from Arachnida, and Formicidae, Carabidae, and Staphylinidae from Insecta. From the Formicidae family, Tetramorium semilaeve (Andre 1883), Tapinoma nigerrimum (Nylander 1856), and Crematogaster scutellaris (Olivier 1792) were the most representative ant species. Arthropods demonstrated preference during the day, with 74% of the total individuals recovered in this period, although richness and similarity were analogous during the day and night.

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