Journal of Insect Conservation

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 347–358 | Cite as

Arthropods of a semi-natural grassland in an urban environment: the John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York

  • Lisa Kutschbach-Brohl
  • Brian E. WashburnEmail author
  • Glen E. Bernhardt
  • Richard B. Chipman
  • Laura C. Francoeur
Original Paper


Semi-natural grassland habitat fragments, such as those found on airports, might be important for arthropod conservation and biodiversity in urban ecosystems. The objectives of this study were to: (1) describe the arthropod communities present within the grasslands on the John F. Kennedy International Airport and (2) assess spatial and temporal variation in those arthropod communities. We collected arthropods using a vacuum sampler during 2003 and using sweep-net collection methods during 2003 and 2004. During 2003, a total of 1,467 arthropods, representing 17 orders and 68 families were found in vacuum samples. A total of 3,784 arthropods, representing 12 orders and 94 families were collected in sweep-net samples during 2003. In 2004, a total of 3,281 arthropods, representing 12 orders and 85 families were collected in sweep-net samples. Hemiptera, Orthoptera, and Diptera were the most abundant taxa, accounting for 47, 18, and 14% of all arthropods captured, respectively. We found evidence of spatial and temporal variation in arthropod abundance, in particular as noted by fluctuations in Orthoptera: Acrididae and Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha. Hemipteran family diversity was also influenced by habitat type. Grassland habitats on airfields, although influenced by anthropogenic factors (e.g., mowing), have the potential to provide abundant and diverse arthropod communities and might serve as a refugium for such species within urban ecosystems.


John F. Kennedy International Airport Insects Grassland Sweep sample Vacuum sample Urban entomology 



This research effort was funded by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and United States Department Agriculture-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service-Wildlife Services. We thank various members of the USDA-APHIS-Wildlife Services New York staff, especially D. Slater and A. Gosser, and the JFKIA Airfield Operations staff, especially S. Nowak, for their assistance in the field. In addition, we thank J. Dierker and S. Johnston for assistance with data entry. T. DeVault, T. Seamans, and 2 anonymous reviewers kindly provided helpful comments on earlier versions of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lisa Kutschbach-Brohl
    • 1
  • Brian E. Washburn
    • 1
    Email author
  • Glen E. Bernhardt
    • 1
  • Richard B. Chipman
    • 2
  • Laura C. Francoeur
    • 3
  1. 1.USDA-APHIS-WS, National Wildlife Research CenterSanduskyUSA
  2. 2.USDA-APHIS-WSCastletonUSA
  3. 3.Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, John F. Kennedy International AirportJamaicaUSA

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