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Species abundance and potential biological control services in shade vs. sun coffee in Puerto Rico

April 1, 2012

Birds, lizards and insects were surveyed in three sun and three shade coffee plantations in Puerto Rico to provide a comprehensive comparison of biodiversity between plantations types and to identify potential interrelationships (e.g., biological or natural control services) between members of each taxon and coffee pests. Abundance of avian species, including insectivorous species, was significantly higher in shade coffee. Anolis cristatellus and A. stratulus were significantly more abundant in sun plantations whereas A. gundlachi and A. evermanni were detected more frequently in shade plantations. Insects in the orders Coleoptera, Diptera, Hemiptera, Hymenoptera, Lepidoptera, Neuroptera, and Psocoptera were significantly more abundant in shade coffee, while orthopterans were more abundant in sun. The coffee leaf miner (Leucoptera coffeela) and the flatid planthopper (Petrusa epilepsis) did not differ significantly between plantation types, nor did the abundance of the wasp complex that parasitizes the coffee leaf miner. These findings confirmed that shade plantations harbor a wide array of elements of biodiversity; but sun plantations may also harbor many elements of biodiversity, and in some cases, in higher abundance than in shade plantations.

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