Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Joe Winstead, Herbert Shadowen, Kenneth Nicely

Degree Program

Department of Biology

Degree Type

Master of Science


Caloric values of insects and arachnids from two woods and two meadow ecosystems were compared. No significant difference was found between the orders Diptera, Homoptera, Orthoptera, Hemiptera, Hymenoptera, or Coleoptera. Caloric values of the class Arachnida were significantly higher in the woods ecosystem at the .05 level of significance. The order Lepidoptera differed at the .01 level of significance and was also higher in the woods samples. For all orders combined the caloric values of the woods samples were higher than the meadow samples at the .001 level of significance.

No consistent pattern was found in seasonal variation in caloric values but fluctuations occurred differently in each order. No significant difference was found in caloric values between animals collected in the spring and those collected in the fall.

Members of the orders Neuroptera and Odonata were lowest in energy content in both woods and meadow ecosystems. Hemopterans were among the highest in caloric value in both systems. All other orders were intermediate. The greatest differences in caloric values existed between the woods and meadow lepidopterans. All caloric values in this study were found to be lower than those reported by other workers.

Seasonal distribution of insects within an ecosystem were considered. The numbers within each order varied independently according to season, stage of life cycle, and feeding habits of the various genera within the order.

Although the area from which the samples were taken was not the same for woods and meadow, habitat preference is still obvious in certain orders. Dipterans were more dense in the woods as compared to other orders, while orthopterans accounted for the majority of specimens from the meadows. Arachnids exhibited preference for a wooded habitat. vii


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