Leaf-Litter Inhabitants of a Brazilian Pepper Stand in Everglades National Park

  • Clouse R
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Brazilian pepper ( Schinus terebinthefolius Raddi) is the focus of a major restora- tion project in Everglades National Park, and here I have attempted to broaden our understanding of this plant and the phenomenon of its invasion. Brazilian pepper leaf litter fauna (especially ants but also beetles, wasps, centipedes, millipedes, isopods, and collembola) was compared to that of hammock and pineland. The abundance of certain species in the different habitats was consistent with previous records of hab- itat preference and confirmed Brazilian pepper leaf litter as a high-moisture habitat. In addition, two species collected here were not previously known from the Ever- glades: Strumigenys rogeri Emery and S. lanuginosa Wheeler, W. M . Hammock leaf litter had more ant species, more beetle families, and more wasp families than Bra- zilian pepper. Rank-abundance plots for all three habitats were either log-series or log-normal distributions, but the sample size was too small to discriminate. K-series plots showed ants in Brazilian pepper to be more diverse than in pineland but slightly less diverse than in hammock. Brazilian pepper is more likely to harbor exotic ants than native habitats (52% versus 36% of species were exotic respectively), and exotic ants are more likely to be found in both hammock and Brazilian pepper than in only one or the other (67% of species found in both habitats were exotic).

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  • Ronald Clouse

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