In order to gain a better understanding of the effects of urbanization on insect biodiversity we compared moth assemblages between residential yards and urban woodlots in East Lansing, Michigan. We surveyed 36 sites over six trapping nights, for a total of 24 hours of nighttime light-trapping at each site. We captured over 2700 macromoth individuals and over 4000 micromoth individuals; more than 97% of macromoth individuals were identified to species. We analyzed differences in life history traits such as body size and feeding guild between residential moths and urban woodlot moths. Urban woodlots had a higher overall abundance of moths and higher species richness than residential yards. Residential yards were found to have a high proportion of “tourist species.” Urban woodlot moth species were significantly larger than residential moth species, leading us to hypothesize that larger moths may be more prone to predation in open habitats. The woodlot moth assemblage was also characterized by a higher percentage of tree generalist species; the residential moth assemblage had a higher percentage of grass/herb generalist species.
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