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23 June 2020 Ball Moss, Tillandsia recurvata L., as a Refuge Site for Arthropods in a Seasonally Dry Tropical Forest of Central Mexico
Jesus Luna-Cozar, Olga Martínez-Madero, Robert W. Jones
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Refuge sites are critical for survival of terrestrial arthropods during the dry season in tropical dry forests. Ball moss, Tillandsia recurvata L. (Bromeliaceae), is a refuge site in seasonally tropical dry forests of Central Mexico, although few studies have examined the role of T. recurvata as a microhabitat of arthropods during unfavorable periods. The objective of the study was to catalog species richness and seasonal population dynamics of arthropods using T. recurvata as a refuge site in a dry tropical forest in the State of Querétaro in Central Mexico. In total, 4,319 arthropods from 2,059 samples of T. recurvata were collected during the study. Of the samples, 33 families, 15 orders, and two classes of Arthropoda were identified. Orders of Insecta were Coleoptera, Dermaptera, Diptera, Hemiptera, Hymenoptera, Isoptera (Blattodea), Lepidoptera (larva), Orthoptera, Psocoptera, and Thysanoptera. Arachnida found were Acari, Araneae, Opiliones, and Pseudoscorpionida. Ecological factors of host tree species and location in a tree were not significantly related to abundance of any arthropod taxa. Significant relationship was found between the diameter and weight of T. recurvata and the number of individuals of only three insect categories -- Coleoptera and Heteroptera with diameter, and Auchenorrhyncha with weight and diameter. Various benefits that T. recurvata are postulated to provide to arthropods include microhabitats of greater humidity and escape from predators. Results, in general, suggested T. recurvata augments the quantity and/or quality of habitat in tropical dry forests that might increase arthropod survival and enhance resilience to disturbances and local extinctions, among other benefits.

Jesus Luna-Cozar, Olga Martínez-Madero, and Robert W. Jones "Ball Moss, Tillandsia recurvata L., as a Refuge Site for Arthropods in a Seasonally Dry Tropical Forest of Central Mexico," Southwestern Entomologist 45(2), 445-460, (23 June 2020).
Published: 23 June 2020
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