We tested for the effect of height on the number of flying insects at one site in a mixed hardwood temperate forest in Williamstown, Massachusetts, by trapping insects at two heights, 0 and 20 meters above the ground, using two types of traps, light traps and malaise traps, from May through September 1992. Overall, insects were approximately eight times more abundant in traps at ground level than in the canopy. Of 101 insect families collected, 86 families (85%) were more abundant in the ground level traps than in the canopy traps. For most groups, these abundance differences with height were consistent in both types of trap. Our results contrast with previous work, done in tropical forests, which has consistently shown more insects in the canopy than in the understory. Our results suggest that the canopy, which supports a major component of insect diversity in the tropics, might not directly support the bulk of insect diversity in temperate forests.
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