Distributions of invasive arthropods across heterogeneous urban landscapes in southern California: aridity as a key component of ecological resistance.
Urban systems often support large numbers of non-native species, but due to the heterogeneity of urban landscapes, species are not evenly distributed. Understanding the drivers of ecological resistance in urban landscapes may help to identify habitats that are most resistant to invasion, and inform efforts to model and conserve native biodiversity. We used pitfall traps to survey non-native ground-dwelling arthropods in three adjacent, low-elevation habitat types in southern California: California sage scrub, non-native grassland, and suburban development. We found that non-native species were fewer and less widely distributed in the sage scrub and grassland habitats. Due to the proximity of our sites, differences in propagule pressure is an unlikely explanation. Instead, we suggest that the absence of water subsidies in the sage scrub and grassland habitats increases those habitats' resistance to arthropod invasions. Comparisons to studies conducted at fragments closer to the coast provide further support for the relationship between aridity and invasibility in southern California. Our findings highlight that inland fragments are important for conserving native arthropod diversity, that models of non-native species distributions in arid and semi-arid urban systems should include aridity measures, and that reducing resource subsidies across the region is critical to mitigating spread of non-natives.