Diversity and Distribution of the Asilidae in Ohio

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2023-12

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The Ohio State University

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Abstract

Asilidae are important predatory insects that eat other insects. To understand their diversity, abundance, and habitat associations in Ohio, passive water bowl traps were set across 149 sites in Ohio from May to October 2020 by volunteer community scientists. All specimens were sent to the Goodell laboratory at The Ohio State Newark to be pinned and identified. A total of 1,705 asilid specimens were collected representing 25 species. The most common species was Atomosia puella, which accounted for 80% of all specimens. To understand habitat influences on abundance and diversity, the presence of forest, grassland/shrub, cropland, and developed land in a 500 m buffer around each site was calculated. These landscape variables were analyzed to determine which habitat was most important for overall Asilidae species richness and abundance. Both cropland and developed land were associated with a decrease in Asilidae abundance and species richness. Forested habitat was positively associated with species richness. Grasslands and open landscapes were positively associated with abundance, largely due to the increase in Atomosia puella abundance with the percent of open habitat. Asilid diversity was not significantly associated with grassland or open habitat. The anthropogenic factors of cropland and developed land negatively influence Asilidae potentially because of pesticides and habitat damage, suggesting the need for conservation management. Forested areas contain greater habitat heterogeneity than grasslands, potentially contributing to the increase in species richness. These findings provide insight into the distribution of Asilidae within Ohio and contribute to future conservation management.

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biodiversity, robber flies, anthropogenic influences, insect diversity, predatory flies, insect conservation

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