Saproxylic Hemiptera Habitat Associations
Understanding the habitat requirements of organisms associated with dead wood is important in order to conserve them in managed forests. Unfortunately, many of the less diverse saproxylic taxa, including Hemiptera, remain largely unstudied. An effort to rear insects from dead wood taken from two forest types (an upland pine-dominated and a bottomland mixed hardwood), three tree species (Liquidambar styraciflua [Sweetgum], Pinus taeda [Loblolly Pine], and Quercus nigra [Water Oak]), and two wood postures (standing snags and fallen logs) in South Carolina produced 435 Hemiptera belonging to eight families and 14 species. The most common (>25 individuals) species were Lyctocoris stalii, Systelloderes inusitatus, Lasiochilus fusculus, Mezira granulata, Calisius contubernalis (a new state record), and Catonia sp. Lyctocoris stalii and Systelloderes inusitatus were almost exclusively captured in the upland and bottomland forest, respectively. Systelloderes inusitatus and Mezira granulata were recovered only from logs. Catonia sp. only emerged from P. taeda logs. Among the less common species, all but two of the 21 specimens of Peritropis saldaeformis were collected from snags. Similarly, all four specimens of Calliodis temnostethoides collected emerged from the crowns of snags. These findings strongly indicate that saproxylic Hemiptera are unevenly distributed among forests, tree species, and wood postures in the southeastern United States. A wide variety of dead wood is clearly necessary to maintain this fauna.