Arthropod-Plant Interactions

, Volume 10, Issue 5, pp 393–402

Shrub cover expressed as an ‘arthropod island’ in xeric environments

  • Rentao Liu
  • Stanislav Pen-Mouratov
  • Yosef Steinberger
Original Paper


Based on the vague importance of shrub cover, an attempt was made to create a theoretical concept framework known as an ‘arthropod-island’ analytical model. These models were based on the multi-bond correlation between shrubs, soil properties, and above- and below-ground biotic communities. By utilizing published datasets on (i.e., above- and below-ground) arthropod communities related to shrub species and age, the proposed models for an ‘arthropod island’ were applied in order to determine their fitness for xeric ecosystems. It was found that the ‘arthropod-island’ concept could be the result of statistical differences in ecologically adaptive (i.e., preferable) redistribution of arthropods among the microhabitats beneath the shrub canopy and in the open spaces. Taxon density, relative to the richness and Shannon indices, was found to be more sensitive to the selected models. The relative interaction intensity index [RII = (A − B)/(A + B), A = shrub canopy value, B = intershrub value] was found to be more suitable for the ‘arthropod island’ at the community level. The relative neighbor effect [RNE = (B − A)/max(A, B)] and RII were found to be suitable at the population level, while the fitted model heavily depended on the variety of arthropod taxon. It was suggested that there were consistent ‘arthropod island’–shrub relationships between shrub species and between shrub ages in terms of arthropod density at the community level. The arthropod taxon was found to indicate an inconsistent ‘arthropod island’–shrub relationship between shrub species that differed from shrub ages at the population level.


Analytical model Arthropod assembly Fitness test Shrub canopy Theoretical framework 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rentao Liu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Stanislav Pen-Mouratov
    • 2
  • Yosef Steinberger
    • 2
  1. 1.Key Laboratory for Restoration and Reconstruction of Degraded Ecosystem in Northwestern China of Ministry of EducationNingxia UniversityYinchuanChina
  2. 2.The Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life SciencesBar-Ilan UniversityRamat-GanIsrael

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