Substrate utilization and guild structure in desert grasshopper assemblages

TitleSubstrate utilization and guild structure in desert grasshopper assemblages
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication1985
AuthorsLightfoot DC
Number of Pages60
Date Published1985
UniversityNew Mexico State University
CityLas Cruces, New Mexico
Thesis TypeM.S. Thesispp
Accession NumberJRN00025
Call Number00177
Keywordsdissertation, dissertations, grasshopper, guild structure, grasshopper, substrate utilization, theses, thesis
AbstractDesert grasshopper assemblages from sites in the Great Basin and Chihuahuan deserts were assessed for guilds on the basis of substrate or microhabitat use and morphological characteristics of component species. Three techniques were used to assess grasshopper guilds: 1) cluster analysis of grasshopper species by specific substrate use, 2) assessments of species substrate class use, and 3) life form classification of grasshopper species based on morphological characteristics. There consistent guilds were evident from the results of those techniques: 1) ground-dwelling species (terriocles), 2) shrub-inhabiting species (arbushticoles), and 3) grass-inhabiting species (graminicoles). Grasshopper guild structures were similar between the Great Basin and Chihuahuan deserts even though species compositions and dominance-diversity patterns were different. Observed grasshopper guilds reflected physical structural features of the habitat such as vegetation physiognomy and edaphic properties. Explanations for observed guild structure are discussed and it is hypothesized that competition for food resources is minimal and that predation is a major selective agent structuring desert grasshopper assemblages.