Forage potential, micro-spatial and temporal distribution of ground arthropods in the flood plain of a coastal ramsar site in Ghana
Despite the critical roles played by arthropods in ecosystem functioning and nutrient cycling, a general lack of information about the ecology of many arthropods in West African coastal wetlands persists. An investigation into the abundance, distribution and forage potential of ground arthropods to waterbirds in a West African Coastal Ramsar site, indicated that the distribution and abundance of the arthropods were similar along both the latitudinal and longitudinal axes of the lagoon’s flood plain. Agelenidae (house spiders), Formicidae (ants) and Gryllidae (True crickets) respectively constituting 52.68%, 36.58% and 5.85% of the total arthropod abundance, dominated the 23 families of arthropods. On the basis of percentage biomass and per capita biomass compositions, Gryllidae and Agelenidaewere of the most important to waterbird foraging. Although Formicidae occurred in large numbers, the small-size nature of the individuals indicated that they were of little importance to waterbird foraging. Ocypodidae (Ghost and Fiddler crabs) (0.3%) and Acrididae (short-horned grasshoppers) (0.3%) constituted a negligible fraction of the arthropod abundance but had the highest per capita biomass and would be the most profitable forage. The low abundance of Ocypodidae and Acrididae were attributed to marginalisation of the sampling method employed in the study.