Entomofauna in monospecific stands of the introduced Chinese tallow tree (Sapium sebiferum) and native mixed woodlands was sampled in 1982 along the Texas coast and compared to samples of arthropods from an earlier study of native coastal prairie and from a study of arthropods in S. sebiferum in 2004. Species diversity, richness, and abundance were highest in prairie, and were higher in mixed woodland than in S. sebiferum. Nonmetric multidimensional scaling distinguished orders and families of arthropods, and families of herbivores in S. sebiferum from mixed woodland and coastal prairie. Taxonomic similarity between S. sebiferum and mixed woodland was 51%. Fauna from S. sebiferum in 2001 was more similar to mixed woodland than to samples from S. sebiferum collected in 1982. These results indicate that the entomofauna in S. sebiferum originated from mixed prairie and that, with time, these faunas became more similar. Species richness and abundance of herbivores was lower in S. sebiferum, but proportion of total species in all trophic groups, except herbivores, was higher in S. sebiferum than mixed woodland. Low concentration of tannin in leaves of S. sebiferum did not explain low loss of leaves to herbivores. Lower abundance of herbivores on introduced species of plants fits the enemy release hypothesis, and low concentration of defense compounds in the face of low number of herbivores fits the evolution of increased competitive ability hypothesis.
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Vol. 55 • No. 2