Diversity of predaceous arthropods in the almond tree canopy in Northeastern Portugal: A methodological approach uri icon


  • The almond tree is an economically important crop in Mediterranean regions. However, knowledge about the biodiversity of natural enemies that may be useful as biocontrol agents, is scarce. The objectives of this work were (1) to study the diversity of predaceous arthropods and (2) establish a suitable sampling protocol for arthropods of the almond tree canopy. Between April and October of 2007-2008, 25 randomly selected trees were sampled in an organic almond grove located in the northeast of Portugal using the beating technique. The specimens collected were counted and identified and the sampling protocol was established by using the accumulation curves and the seasonal richness peaks of the most abundant groups of natural enemies. A total of 1856 and 1301 arthropods were captured respectively in 2007 and 2008, where Araneae, Coccinellidae and Formicidae were the most abundant groups. A total of 14 families and 29 species of spiders were identified as being Linyphiidae, Philodromidae, Thomisidae, Araneidae and Oxyopidae, the five most abundant families in both years. In the Coccinellidae and Formicidae communities 15 and 13 species were identified, respectively. According to taxa accumulation curves, the minimum sampling effort that provided a reliable picture of the biodiversity was established in 11 samples. Moreover, considering the seasonal richness distribution, it would be advisable to concentrate the sampling period from the beginning of July to the harvesting of almonds. This protocol might generate accurate replicate samples to estimate species richness when the effect of agricultural management is studied.

publication date

  • January 1, 2011