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Title: Sand dune of Ruby, Arizona, an anthropogenically created biodiversity hotspot for wasps and their velvet ant parasitoids

Author: Schmidt, Justin O.;

Date: 2013

Source: In: Gottfried, Gerald J.; Ffolliott, Peter F.; Gebow, Brooke S.; Eskew, Lane G.; Collins, Loa C. Merging science and management in a rapidly changing world: Biodiversity and management of the Madrean Archipelago III and 7th Conference on Research and Resource Management in the Southwestern Deserts; 2012 May 1-5; Tucson, AZ. Proceedings. RMRS-P-67. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 172-174.

Publication Series: Proceedings (P)

   Note: This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document

Description: A large artificial sand dune composed of finely crushed mine tailings was produced by deep mining operations at Ruby, Arizona. Today, the ghost town of Ruby is an important historical location and biodiversity refuge, with the newly formed dune forming the core of the refuge. The dune provides ideal nesting habitat for at least 13 species of sand-loving wasps, including cicada killers (Hymenoptera: Sphecius) that are sometimes present in record breaking populations. Following the colonizing wasps were at least 14 species of velvet ants (Hymenoptera: Mutillidae) that parasitize the wasps. Host wasp species range in size from about 9 to 1000 mg; various opportunistic velvet ant species exploit the entire host range of available wasps, resulting in velvet ants ranging in size from 6 to about 250 mg. These findings indicate that colonization of the man-made Ruby dune by both wasps and their parasitoids occurred rapidly after dune formation.

Keywords: Madrean Archipelago, Sky Islands, southwestern United States, northern Mexico, natural environment, fauna, flora, research, management, biodiversity, climate change

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Schmidt, Justin O. 2013. Sand dune of Ruby, Arizona, an anthropogenically created biodiversity hotspot for wasps and their velvet ant parasitoids. In: Gottfried, Gerald J.; Ffolliott, Peter F.; Gebow, Brooke S.; Eskew, Lane G.; Collins, Loa C. Merging science and management in a rapidly changing world: Biodiversity and management of the Madrean Archipelago III and 7th Conference on Research and Resource Management in the Southwestern Deserts; 2012 May 1-5; Tucson, AZ. Proceedings. RMRS-P-67. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 172-174.

 


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