Most insects’ assemblages differ with forest type and show vertical stratification. We tested for differences in richness, abundance and composition of hymenopteran families and mymarid genera between sugar maple (Acer saccharum) and white pine (Pinus strobus) stands and between canopy and understory in northeastern temperate forests in Canada. We used flight interception traps (modified malaise traps) suspended in the canopy and the understory in a split-split block design, with forest type as the main factor, forest stratum as the first split factor, and collection bottle location as the second split factor. Hymenopteran families and mymarid genera differed in their diversity depending on forest type and stratum. Both family and genera richness were higher in maple than in pine forests, whereas family richness was higher in the canopy and top bottles and generic richness was higher in the understory and bottom bottles. Multivariate analysis separated samples by forest type, vegetation stratum, and bottle location. Family composition showed 77% similarity between forest types and 73% between the canopy and understory. At the lower taxa level, mymarid genera showed only 47% similarity between forest types and 40% between forest strata, indicating vertical stratification and relatively high β-diversity. Our study suggests that hymenopteran diversity and composition is strongly dependent on forest type and structure, making flying members of this order particularly vulnerable to forest management practices. It also shows that insect assemblage composition (especially at low-taxon levels), rather than relative abundance and richness, is the community attribute most sensitive to forest type and vertical stratification.
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