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Volume 2011, Article ID 748635, 7 pages
Research Article

Relationships between Plant Diversity and Grasshopper Diversity and Abundance in the Little Missouri National Grassland

USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory, Sidney, MT 59270, USA

Received 31 May 2010; Revised 25 September 2010; Accepted 5 November 2010

Academic Editor: Michael Sergeev

Copyright © 2011 David H. Branson. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A continuing challenge in orthopteran ecology is to understand what determines grasshopper species diversity at a given site. In this study, the objective was to determine if variation in grasshopper abundance and diversity between 23 sites in western North Dakota (USA) could be explained by variation in plant species richness and diversity. In this system with relatively low plant diversity, grasshopper species richness and abundance were not significantly associated with plant species richness in either year. Although a number of significant associations between plant diversity and grasshopper diversity were found through regression analyses, results differed greatly between years indicating that plant species richness and diversity did not lead to strong effects on grasshopper diversity metrics. Plant species richness appears to be too coarse grained to lead to accurate predictions of grasshopper species richness in this system dominated by generalist grasshopper species.