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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Arthropod communities on decomposing fruit in agricultural and forested areas on Moorea, French Polynesia

  • Author(s): Starrs, Genoa Ione
  • Advisor(s): Mishler, Brent
  • Roderick, George
  • Resh, Vincent
  • Stillman, Jonathon
  • et al.
Creative Commons 'BY-NC' version 3.0 license

A controlled observation study was used to determine differences in athropod communities on fruits introduced to the island of Mo’orea, French Polynesia, approximately 300 and 1000 years ago respectively: papaya (Carica papaya) and Tahitian chestnut (Inocarpus fagifer), in two regions: an agricultural school and a tropical moist broadleaf forest. Distinct differences in communities existed by fruit and region, and there was interaction between the influence of region and fruit type. Papaya communities showed the most differences by region. Papaya communities had a greater mean number of individuals and taxa than Tahitian chestnut communities. Region did not have a significant effect on the mean number of individuals and taxa, but for both individuals and taxa the forested region showed more variation in the communities found on each fruit than in the agricultural region, perhaps due to greater niche differentiation (competition among species), on the less frequently disturbed site. The most abundant taxa were flies (Diptera) and ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Community differentiation by region appeared to be influenced most strongly by less abundant species, rather than by the most abundant taxa. This study provides groundwork for future studies of tropical relationships between arthropods, land use changes, and fruit, and provides evidence of agricultural impacts on arthropod communities.

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