Detecting differences in arthropod aggregation by comparing the proportion of occupied sample units

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Abstract

Using data sets of phytophagous and predaceous mites, we introduce a method for estimating standard error bands for the proportion of habitat occupied by a species as a function of mean density, by transforming error bands from the variance-mean power law. Error bands produced by this method were more conservative than bands produced by bootstrapping and repeated subsampling methods applied to the same data. Though conservative, the binomial model showed potential to be an easily interpreted, powerful method for detecting differences in the proportion of habitat occupied among data sets (interpreted as differences in species aggregation) on one spatial scale. This was demonstrated in three specific cases: between years for the predaceous mite Typhlodromus pyri Scheuten (Acari: Phytoseiidae) on ‘Red Delicious’ apple trees (Malus pumila Miller), for the phytophagous mite Tetranychus urticae (Koch) (Acari: Tetranychidae), whether or not it was preyed upon by the predaceous mite Neoseiulus fallacis (Garman) (Acari: Phytoseiidae) on hops (Humulus lupulus L.), and among individual life stages of the predaceous mite Metaseiulus occidentalis (Nesbitt) (Acari: Phytoseiidae) on apple.

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