Canopy arthropod communities of four coniferous tree species, found in UK plantations, were examined using pyrethrum knockdown. The species selected were Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris), Corsican pine (Pinus nigra var. maritima), Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) and Norway spruce (Picea abies). Arthropods were often found in high densities, with figures up to 11,000 m⁻². These are higher densities than those previously recorded from other trees in temperate or tropical regions. Communities were dominated by Collembola and Acarina except where there were outbreaks of the Green spruce aphid (Elatobium abietinum). The dominance of epiphyte feeders and mites concurs with data from studies on conifers in Japan. Species richness of herbivorous orders was found to be lower than that for broadleafed trees, but the richness of other groups was generally comparable. Community variations between tree genera were greater than those between related species. This study suggests that the structure of canopy arthropod communities on coniferous trees differs from that on broadleafs. The differences may be attributable to the density and longevity of the foliage on the evergreen conifers.
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