1. The hypothesis that the habitat-scale spatial distribution of the, Apache cicada Diceroprocta apache Davis is unaffected by the presence of the invasive exotic saltcedar Tamarix ramosissima was tested using data from 205 1-m2 quadrats placed within the flood-plain of the Bill Williams River, Arizona, U.S.A. Spatial dependencies within and between cicada density and habitat variables were estimated using Moran's I and its bivariate analogue to discern patterns and associations at spatial scales from 1 to 30 m. 2. Apache cicadas were spatially aggregated in high-density clusters averaging 3m in diameter. A positive association between cicada density, estimated by exuvial density, and the per cent canopy cover of a native tree, Goodding's willow Salix gooddingii, was detected in a non-spatial correlation analysis. No non-spatial association between cicada density and saltcedar canopy cover was detected. 3. Tests for spatial cross-correlation using the bivariate IYZ indicated the presence of a broad-scale negative association between cicada density and saltcedar canopy cover. This result suggests that large continuous stands of saltcedar are associated with reduced cicada density. In contrast, positive associations detected at spatial scales larger than individual quadrats suggested a spill-over of high cicada density from areas featuring Goodding's willow canopy into surrounding saltcedar monoculture. 4. Taken together and considered in light of the Apache cicada's polyphagous habits, the observed spatial patterns suggest that broad-scale factors such as canopy heterogeneity affect cicada habitat use more than host plant selection. This has implications for management of lower Colorado River riparian woodlands to promote cicada presence and density through maintenance or creation of stands of native trees as well as manipulation of the characteristically dense and homogeneous saltcedar canopies.
Additional publication details
Spatial correlations of Diceroprocta apache and its host plants: Evidence for a negative impact from Tamarix invasion