Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Plant Science

First Advisor

Paul Johnson


Soil biological components are a major contributing factor to the health of soil. Soil arthropods are one of the major groups that are a part of these biological components. Selected taxonomic groups of soil arthropods were collected through soil sampling and pitfall trapping to inventory and determine the effects of tillage on these organisms. Nine sites with three treatments, grass (control), no-till, and tillage, were visited five times for the 2000 and 2001 sampling seasons. A combined total of 24,552 specimens were collected. The three most abundant groups were springtails (Collembola) at 36.1 %, beetles (Coleoptera) at 26.6%, and crickets (Gryllidae) at 19.9%. Three other major groups were the spiders (Araneae) at 6.0%, sowbugs & pillbugs (lsopoda) at 4.5%, and millipedes (Diplopoda) at 4.3%. No-till treatments had the highest Hierarchical Richness Index (HRI, French 1994, 75,052) value indicating richness and diversity among treatments and sites. Grass treatments had the second highest HRI value (62,136) followed by tillage (57,516). Cultivation does have a positive affect on soil arthropod abundance and diversity by creating a wider range of habitats for a wider range of arthropods. Cultivation does not affect all arthropods the same however. Pasimachus elongates Leconte is one species of ground beetle (Coleoptera:Carabidae) that had significantly higher means on grass treatments than no-till or tilled while no-till also had higher means than tillage. Harpalus pensylvanicus DeGeer is another species of ground beetle (Coleoptera:Carabidae) found at significantly higher abundances on cultivated treatments than on grass treatments. Different groups and species of arthropods respond differently to tillage and agricultural use because of habitat requirements, vegetative differences, and food and prey availability.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Arthropoda -- South Dakota.
Tillage -- South Dakota.
Soil animals -- South Dakota.
Soil biology.


South Dakota State University



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