Forest canopies support high arthropod biodiversity, but in temperate canopies, little is known about the spatial distribution of these arthropods. This is an important first step toward understanding ecological roles of insects in temperate canopies. The objective of this study was to assess differences in the species composition of two dominant and diverse taxa (Diptera and Coleoptera) along a vertical gradient in temperate deciduous forest canopies. Five sugar maple trees from each of three deciduous forest sites in southern Quebec were sampled using a combination of window and trunk traps placed in three vertical strata (understory, mid-canopy, and upper-canopy) for three sampling periods throughout the summer. Coleoptera species richness and abundance did not differ between canopy heights, but more specimens and species of Diptera were collected in the upper-canopy. Community composition of Coleoptera and Diptera varied significantly by trap height. Window traps collected more specimens and species of Coleoptera than trunk traps, although both trap types should be used to maximize representation of the entire Coleoptera community. There were no differences in abundance, diversity, or composition of Diptera collected between trap types. Our data confirm the relevance of sampling all strata in a forest when studying canopy arthropod biodiversity.
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