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Litter—dwelling thrips are an important component of soil macroinvertebrates in tropical and subtropical regions. However, little is known about assemblage composition, seasonal abundance and vertical distribution of litter—dwelling thrips. A survey of forest litter—dwelling thrips and other soil macroinvertebrates was conducted in an urban forest remnant at Guangzhou, China during 2004–2005 and 2008–2009. A total of 835 Tullgren samples were collected during the study. Thysanoptera constituted 6.5% of total litter—dwelling macroinvertebrate individuals extracted, representing three families, 19 genera, and 25 species. Psalidothrips ascitus Ananthakrishnan (Thysanoptera: Phlaeothripidae) and Hyidiothrips guangdongensis Wang, Tong and Zhang represented 78.5% of all individuals of litter—dwelling thrips during the survey. Numbers of species and density of leaf—litter thrips fluctuated between different months. Density of litter thrips increased from March until October, reaching a maximum of 41.1 individuals/m2 followed by a decrease. In January and February only a few larval thrips were present. Species diversity gradually increased from July (four species) to December (10 species), and then declined rapidly. The vertical distribution showed that the leaf—litter thrips species richness and abundance decreased significantly with soil depth; they were found only in the litter layer and upper soil layer (0-5 cm in depth) and were entirely absent in deeper soil layers. The results suggest that litter—dwelling thrips are a common group of litter invertebrates with high species diversity in subtropical regions. These urban forest remnants should be given special consideration in forest conservation planning, because of their significance as refugia for the litter invertebrate assemblages, especially for leaf—litter thrips.
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