Intensive Versus Long-Term Sampling to Assess Lepidopteran Diversity in a Southern Mixed Mesophytic Forest

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As biodiversity loss increases through species extinction and habitat degradation, the need to catalog what remains becomes ever more important. The time and monetary limitations of long-term biodiversity surveys become a concern as demand for biodiversity studies rises. This study was initiated to compare the efficiency of an intensive sampling scheme with a relatively long-term sampling scheme. Richness and abundance of selected moth taxa were measured in a mixed mesophytic forest habitat during a period of 8 mo for the long-term collection. An equal number of samples was taken from the same habitat during 1 mo for the intensive collection. A total of 3,155 specimens representing 314 species of moths was collected in the long-term study compared with 4,198 specimens representing 261 species in the intensive study. Sorenson's index indicated 76% species overlap between the 2 studies. Based on total species richness for this habitat, the intensive collection recovered 15% less than the long-term collection and took about half the time. The total number of species identified from both collections was 362. Because many biodiversity assessments are currently conducted on a short-term basis, studies such as this can provide entomologists with rough estimates of the percentage of biodiversity collected using relatively rapid sampling schemes.

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Annals of the Entomological Society of America

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