Great Basin Naturalist


Insect faunas and communities are characterized for herbaceous and tree canopy layers in meadow, aspen, and spruce/fir stages of a northern Utah sere. A greater percentage of species were in Thysanoptera in both aspen strata, and a greater percentage of individuals were in Lepidoptera in aspen canopy. Our sites were quite similar to a wide variety of other terrestrial sites in their distribution of species or individuals among orders or metamorphosis categories. Insects/m2 peaked in the aspen stage, but declined in the herbaceous layer with succession. Insects/plant biomass in the herbaceous layer increased with succession. Insects/m2 and insects/foliar biomass were higher in aspen canopies than in conifer canopies. Insect species/m2 peaked in the aspen stage. This statistic was comparable in meadow and aspen understory, and lower in conifer understory. Insects/m2 in the tree canopies were similar to the values in their respective understories. Insect species/plant biomass increased in the herbaceous layer with succession, but decreased in tree canopies with succession. Species evenness in both strata increased with succession. Adult body length was greatest for meadow species, least for conifer species. Adult body length per individual was greatest in aspen. Life cycle complexity was greatest in aspen. Insects on trees were more likely to have complex life cycles than those on herbs.