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Document Type

Peer-Review Article

Abstract

Sand prairies in the Great Lakes region occur as small sites dispersed through- out a heavily disturbed landscape. These unique natural areas are dominated by dry prairie grasses and are inhabited by a diversity of insects of which Cicadellidae and Cercopidae are among the most diverse groups. Their species compositions have been implicated as being potential indicators of ecological quality that could be used to rank the quality of prairie vegetation. In Newaygo Co., Michigan, 12 sand prairies were surveyed for Cicadellidae and Cercopidae and these data were then used to estimate species diversity for each site by the Simpson’s Dominance and the Brillouin Diversity indices. A ranking of ecological quality of each site was also done by using an inferential analysis. Results from these indices indicated that the Big Finger prairie and the Michigan Nature Association’s North prairie ranked the highest in diversity. Other highly ranked sites were the Cottonwood Street prairie and the Newaygo Prairie Study Area. The Locust Street prairie, although ranking low in diversity as determined by the Brillouin index, was dominated by Philaenarcys bilineata (Say) (Hemiptera: Cercopidae) a “Threatened” species, and Flexamia delongi Ross and Cooley (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae) a species of “Special Concern”, indicating the importance of preserving this site even though its species richness and biodiversity rankings were low. Seven species of Cercopidae were collected including Lepyronia gibbosa Ball a state “Threatened” species, and P. bilineata and Prosapia ignipecta (Fitch), state species of “Special Concern”.

Twenty species of Cicadellidae were identified of which F. delongi, a species of “Special Concern”, was collected from all sites. Several prairie obligate species from both families were collected from each site. Eight Michigan state “Special Concern” or “Threatened” species, four new state records, and two new county records were collected. These results indicate the biological uniqueness of these sand prairies with evidence that all of these sites warrant conservation oriented management.

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Entomology Commons

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