In the southwestern United States giant reed, Arundo donax, is a non-native invasive plant that has become widely established in moist places and forms its largest stands along riparian corridors. The most widely reported negative effects include competition with native species, increased rate of transpiration, increased potential for wildfires, and stream channel and bank alteration. However, little is known about the faunal communities associated with this plant and the potential effects on native fauna. In this study, we focused our efforts on determining the faunal composition specifically from rhizome clumps of A. donax from a site located along the Santa Margarita River in San Diego County, California. A total of 2590 individual macro-invertebrates were collected and identified, and represented 64 species from 7 classes. No sensitive species and few vertebrates were found to be in association with A. donax rhizome clumps. Four non-native invertebrate species made up 43% of the total number of captured invertebrates, and 31% of the sampled invertebrates were confirmed as native species. This study demonstrates that A. donax rhizome clumps, and the soils associated with them, provide habitat for several native macro-invertebrate species, but can be dominated by a greater abundance of non-native species.

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Author notes


Current address, Department of Earth and Biological Sciences, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA, 92350;


Current address, Merkel & Associates, Inc., 5434 Ruffin Road, San Diego, CA 92123