Seasonal and Periodical Assessment of the Abundance and Diversity of Epigaeic Invertebrates in an Urban Forest Remnant, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

  • Nuru Said Mohamed Muslim University of Morogoro
Keywords: Seasonal and Periodical, Abundance and Diversity, Epigaeic Invertebrates, Urban Forest
Share Article:


Urban Forest (UF) refers to a complex human-environment system encompassing urban and peri-urban vegetation such as gardens, rivers and coastal corridors, and uninhabited yards. Human beings benefit from a healthy UF in a variety of ways such as recreation, disasters management, and the lessening of the effects of environmental deterioration (caused by the ongoing anthropogenic activities) like air pollution and ozone concentration affecting many epigaeic fauna. Epigaeic Invertebrates (EIs) are above ground foraging or litter dwelling invertebrates carrying important roles in UFs ecosystems such as ecosystem engineers and pests’ natural enemies. The present study assessed the influence of dry and wet seasons and different periods of a day (morning, afternoon, and evening hours) towards the abundance and diversity of ground dwelling invertebrates around urban forest remnant in Dar es salaam city, Tanzania. Data collection used pitfall trap, baited traps, and dry leaf litter sifting methods. A total of 10,363 EIs individuals were collected with 133 morpho species, 87 families and 18 orders (Hymenoptera dominated by 71.4%). Wet season had significantly higher abundance (6,360 individuals with 121 morpho species) than dry season (4,003 individuals and 88 morpho species), possibly due to the higher availability of food resources during rainy times. However, quite unexpectedly dry season had higher species diversity, probably due to the over dominance of a very aggressive Formicidae species in wet season that displaced some intolerable species. Also, the overall variations of species diversity and abundance between morning, afternoon, and evening hours were significantly different but higher in the morning. This suggested that EIs were active at different times of the day but were more attracted to the morning sunshine and decreased as the land became hotter. This study depicts urban forests to be among world ecosystems with relatively high levels of EIs biodiversity and hence an urgent call for their conservation efforts before it is too late.


Download data is not yet available.


Alvey, A. A. (2006). Promoting and preserving biodiversity in the urban forest. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 5(4), 195-201.

Berland, A., Shiflett, S. A., Shuster, W. D., Garmestani, A. S., Goddard, H. C., Herrmann, D. L., & Hopton, M. E. (2017). The role of trees in urban stormwater management. Landscape and Urban Planning, 162, 167-177.

Braschler, B., Gilgado, J. D., Rusterholz, H. P., Buchholz, S., Zwahlen, V., & Baur, B. (2021). Functional diversity and habitat preferences of native grassland plants and ground- dwelling invertebrates in private gardens along an urbanization gradient. Ecology and Evolution. John Wiley & Sons Ltd. DOI: 10.1002/ece3.8343

Braschler, B., Gilgado, J. D., Zwahlen, V., Rusterholz, H. P., Buchholz, S., & Baur, B. (2020). Ground-dwelling invertebrate diversity in domestic gardens along a rural-urban gradient: Landscape characteristics are more important than garden characteristics. PLoS ONE 15(10): e0240061.

Cajaiba, R. L., Périco, E., Silva, W. B., & Santos, M. (2017). Seasonal patterns in the diversity of Histerid beetles (Histeridae) are ecosystem specific? A Case in Para State, Northern Brazil. Applied Ecology and Environmental Research, 15(4), 1227- 1237.

Cerdá, X., & Dejean, A. (2011). Predation in the Hymenoptera: An Evolutionary Perspective. Predation by ants on arthropods and other animals, 3, 39-78. ISBN: 978-81-7895-530-8

Cooling, M. D. (2012). Variation in the persistence and effects of Argentine ants throughout their invaded range in New Zealand. School of Biological Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

Crane, S., & Baker, C. (2011). Ants and moths: Analysis of biodiversity and abundance in revegetated pastoral land. Natural Sciences 16-21.

Davis, T.S., & Gorsuch, C.S. (2011). Fire ant management in the home lawn. Entomology Insect Information Series. Clemson University, USA.

FAO. (2016). Guidelines on urban and peri-urban forestry, by F. Salbitano, S. Borelli, M. Conigliaro and Y. Chen. FAO Forestry Paper No. 178. Rome, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Hammer, Ø., Harper, D. A. T., & Ryan, P. D. (2001). PAST: Paleontological Statistics software package for education and data analysis, version 2.17c. Palaeontologia Electronica, 4(1), 1-9.

Jacobs, J. M., Longino, J. T., & Joyce, F. J. (2011). Ants of the Islas Murciélago: an inventory of the ants on tropical dry forest islands in northwest Costa Rica. Tropical Conservation Science, 4(2), 149-171.

Jones, E. L. (2010). Factors Affecting the Diversity and Abundance of Roadside Invertebrates and Plants in Urban Areas (PhD thesis, Division of Biology, Department of Life Sciences, Imperial College London).

Jones, E. L., & Leather, S. R. (2012). Invertebrates in urban areas: A review. European Journal of Entomology, 109(4), 463-478.

Kardan, O., Gozdyra, P., Misic, B., Moola, F., Palmer, L. J., Paus, T., & Berman, M. G. (2015). Neighbourhood greenspace and health in a large urban center. Sci. Rep. 5: 11610. doi: 10.1038/srep11610

Khanal, P., & Straka, T. (2021). Benefits of Urban Forests and Determining Their Value. Clemson (SC): Clemson Cooperative Extension, Land-Grant Press by Clemson Extension. LGP 1108.

Kotze, D. J., Lowe, E. C., MacIvor, J. S., Ossola, A., Norton, B. A., Hochuli, D. F., Mata, L., Moretti, M., Gagné, S. A., Handa, I. T., Jones, T. M., Threlfa, C. G., & Hahs, A. K. (2022). Urban forest invertebrates: how they shape and respond to the urban environment. Urban Ecosystems, 25, 1589–1609.

McGavin, G. G. (1992). The Pocket Guide to Insects of the Northern Hemisphere. Dragon’s World, Singapore.

McGavin, G. G. (1993). Bugs of the World. Bland Ford, UK.

Mohamed, N. S. (2016). Effects of fire ants (Solenopsis sp.) on the abundance and diversity of other epigaeic invertebrates in disturbed habitats at the Dar es Salaam Bioenvironmental Centre, Tanzania. MSc. Thesis, University of Dar es Salaam.

Montine, P. S. M., Viana, N. F., Almeida, F. S., Dáttilo, W., Santanna, A. S., Martins, L. & Vargas, A. B. (2014). Seasonality of Epigaeic Ant Communities in a Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest. Sociobiology, 61(2), 178-183.

Mora-Rubio, C. & Parejo-Pulido, D. (2021). Notes on the diet of the Mediterranean black widow Latrodectus tredecimguttatus (Rossi, 1790) (Araneae: Theridiidae) in South Western Iberian Peninsula. Graellsia 77(1): e138.

Müller, G. C., & Schlein, Y. (2011). Different methods of using attractive sugar baits (ATSB) for the control of Phlebotomus papatasi. J Vector Ecol, 36(1), S64-70. doi: 10.1111/j.19487134.2011.00113.x.

Ndunguru, T. (2006). Influence of disturbance, habitat types and altitude on the abundance and diversity of dung beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) in the East Usambara Mountain Forests, Tanzania. MSc. Thesis, University of Dar es Salaam.

Niba, A. S., & Yekwayo, I. (2016). Epigaeic invertebrate community structure in two subtropical nature reserves, Eastern Cape, South Africa: Implications for conservation management. Arachnology Letters, 52, 7-15. https://doi/10.5431/aramit5203

Nowak, D. J., & Dwyer, J. F. (2007). Understanding the Benefits and Costs of Urban Forest Ecosystems. Urban and Community Forestry in the Northeast, 2nd ed. Springer.

Nyundo, B. A., & Yarro, J. G. (2007). An assessment of methods for sampling carabid beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) in a montane rain forest. Tanz. J. Sci., 33, 41-49.

Picker, M., Griffiths, C., & Weaving, A. (2004). Field Guide to Insects of South Africa. Struik Nature. Cape Town, South Africa.

Price, C. (2003). Quantifying the aesthetic benefits of urban forestry. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 1(3), 123-133.

Pryke, J.S. (2008). Conservation of the invertebrate fauna on the Cape Peninsula. PhD Thesis, Stellenbosch University.

Rahman, M. A., Armson, D., & Ennos, A. R. (2015). A comparison of the growth and cooling effectiveness of five commonly planted urban tree species. Urban Ecosystems, 18, 371 -389.

Samways, M. J., McGeoch, M. A., & New, T. R. (2010). Insect Conservation, A Handbook of Approaches and Methods. Oxford University Press.

Santos J. C., Delabie J. H., & Fernandes G. W. (2008). A 15-year post evaluation of the fire effects on ant community in an area of Amazonian Forest. Revista Brasileira de Entomologia, 52(1), 82-87.

Scholtz, C. H., & Holm, E. (1996). Insects of South Africa. University of Pretoria, Pretoria

Senkoro, S. M. (2015). Effect of habitat disturbances on small mammal diversity, abundance and parasitic load at the Dar es Salaam Bioenvironmental Centre, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. MSc. Thesis, University of Dar es Salaam.

Shayya, S., & Lackner, T. (2020). Contribution to the knowledge of the clown beetle fauna of Lebanon, with a key to all species (Coleoptera, Histeridae). ZooKeys, 960, 79–123.

Thompson, S. A., & Thompson, G. G. (2007). Temporal variation in ground-dwelling invertebrate biomass in the Goldfields of Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum, 23, 235-240.

Thomson, L. J., Neville, P. J., & Hoffmann, A. A. (2004). Effective trapping methods for assessing invertebrates in vineyards. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 44, 947–953.

Uforest. (2023). Benefits and challenges of urban forests.

White, R. A. (1983). A Field Guide to the Beetles of North America. The Peterson Field Guide Series. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston.

Wiezik, M., Svitok, M., Wieziková, A., & Dovčiak, M. (2015). Identifying Shifts in Leaf-Litter Ant Assemblages (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) across Ecosystem Boundaries Using Multiple Sampling Methods. PLoS ONE, 10(7), e0134502. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0134502

Yousefi, S., Zahraei-Ramazani, A. Z., Rassi, Y., Vatandoost, H., Yaghoobi-Ershadi, M. R., Aflatoonian, M. R., Akhavan, A. A., Aghaei-Afshar, A., Amin, M., & Paksa, A. (2020). Evaluation of Different Attractive Traps for Capturing Sand Flies (Diptera: Psychodidae) in an Endemic Area of Leishmaniasis, Southeast of Iran. J Arthropod Borne Dis 30;14(2):202-213. doi: 10.18502/jad.v14i2.3739.

Zar, J. H. (2010). Biostatistical Analysis Fifth Edition. Prentice Hall, Inc. New Jersey

18 May, 2023
How to Cite
Mohamed, N. (2023). Seasonal and Periodical Assessment of the Abundance and Diversity of Epigaeic Invertebrates in an Urban Forest Remnant, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. East African Journal of Environment and Natural Resources, 6(1), 117-135.