Eur. J. Entomol. 108 (1): 107-115, 2011 | DOI: 10.14411/eje.2011.014

Ground-dwelling arthropod assemblages of partially improved heathlands according to the species of grazer and grazing regime

Rocío ROSA GARCÍA, Urcesino GARCÍA, Koldo OSORO, Rafael CELAYA
Servicio Regional de Investigación y Desarrollo Agroalimentario (SERIDA), Apdo. 13, 33300 Villaviciosa, Asturias, Spain;

The creation of improved areas is one way of increasing the productivity of livestock on Cantabrian heathland (NW Spain), a habitat that is frequently located in less favourable mountainous areas where the development of sustainable husbandry is limited. The effect of this on the biodiversity of heathland is unclear and likely to depend on several factors, such as the grazing regime. In order to clarify this situation, the effects of type of vegetation, species of grazer and grazing regime on the composition of the ground-dwelling arthropod fauna of partially improved heathland were determined. The effects of grazing by cattle or sheep and two grazing regimes (cattle or sheep, or both of them together with goats) were studied in eight plots (two replicates per treatment). Each plot included two types of vegetation, gorse (Ulex gallii)-dominated shrubland and improved grassland (Lolium perenne-Trifolium repens). Arthropods were surveyed using pitfall traps. Overall, the composition of the arthropod fauna did not differ between plots grazed by different species of grazer or using different grazing regimes but was significantly associated with the type of vegetation. Most of the opilionids and several carabids clearly preferred shrubland, while lycosids and various carabids were mainly associated with grassland. While the species of grazer affected the faunal composition of grassland, grazing regime was more important in shrubland. Arthropod responses to the grazing treatments were determined by the grazing behaviour of the large herbivores and the habitat requirements of each arthropod taxon. The great structural heterogeneity of the vegetation and the more microhabitats in shrubland grazed by mixed flocks was mainly a result of the goats preferring to browse on the woody vegetation in these areas. The grazing by either sheep or cattle had less of an affect on the fauna of shrubland than grassland.

Keywords: Ground-dwelling arthropods, grazing, cattle, sheep, goats, grassland, shrubland

Received: April 13, 2010; Accepted: July 20, 2010; Published: January 3, 2011

Download citation

References

  1. ALMEIDA-NETO M., MACHADO G., PINTO-DA-ROCHA R. & GIARETTA A.A. 2006: Harvestmen (Arachnida: Opiliones) species distribution along three Neotropical elevational gradients: an alternative rescue effect to explain Rapoport's rule? J. Biogeogr. 33: 361-375 Go to original source...
  2. ALVAREZ M.A., GARCIA P. & VALDERRABANO J. 2004: Tipificacion, Cartografia y Evaluacion de los Pastos Espanoles: Cartografia de los Pastos de Asturias. SEEP-INIA-SERIDAINDUROT, Oviedo, 138 pp
  3. ATTWOOD S.J., MARON M., HOUSE A.P.N. & ZAMMIT C. 2008: Do arthropod assemblages display globally consistent responses to intensified agricultural land use and management? Global Ecol. Biogeogr. 17: 585-599 Go to original source...
  4. BELL J.R., CULLEN W.R. & WHEATER C.P. 1998: The structure of spider communities in limestone quarry environments. In Selden P.A. (ed.): Proceedings of the 17th European Colloquium of Arachnology. British Arachnological Society, Burnham Beeches, Bucks., pp. 253-259
  5. BELL J.R., WHEATER C.P. & CULLEN W.R. 2001: The implications of grassland and heathland management for the conservation of spider communities: a review. J. Zool. 255: 377-387 Go to original source...
  6. BENAVIDES R., CELAYA R., FERREIRA L.M.M., JAUREGUI B.M., GARCIA U. & OSORO K. 2009: Grazing behaviour of domestic ruminants according to flock type and subsequent vegetation changes on partially improved heathlands. Span. J. Agric. Res. 7: 417-430 Go to original source...
  7. BIGNAL E.M. 1998: Using an ecological understanding of farmland to reconcile nature conservation requirements, EU agriculture policy and world trade agreements J. Appl. Ecol. 35: 949-954 Go to original source...
  8. BONTE D., MAELFAIT J.P. & HOFFMANN M. 2000: The impact of grazing on spider communities in a mesophytic calcareous dune grassland. J. Coastal Conserv. 6: 135-144 Go to original source...
  9. BRAGAGNOLO C., NOGUEIRA A.A., PINTO-DA-ROCHA R. & PARDINI R. 2007: Harvestmen in an Atlantic forest fragmented landscape: Evaluating assemblage response to habitat quality and quantity. Biol. Conserv. 139: 389-400 Go to original source...
  10. BROMHAM L., CARDILLO M., BENNETT A.F. & ELGAR M.A. 1999: Effects of stock grazing on the ground invertebrate fauna of woodland remnants. Aust. J. Ecol. 24: 199-207 Go to original source...
  11. CAMERON A., JOHNSTON R.J. & MCADAM J. 2004: Classification and evaluation of spider (Araneae) assemblages on environmentally sensitive areas in Northern Ireland. Agric. Ecosyst. Environ. 102: 29-40 Go to original source...
  12. CARDOSO P., SILVA I., OLIVEIRA N.G. & SERRANO A.R.M. 2004: Higher taxa surrogates of spider (Araneae) diversity and their efficiency in conservation. Biol. Conserv. 120: 453-459 Go to original source...
  13. CELAYA R., MARTINEZ A. & OSORO K. 2007: Vegetation dynamics in Cantabrian heathlands associated with improved grassland areas under single or mixed grazing by sheep and goats. Small Rumin. Res. 72: 165-177 Go to original source...
  14. CELAYA R., BENAVIDES R., GARCIA U., FERREIRA L.M.M., FERRE I., MARTINEZ A., ORTEGA-MORA L.M. & OSORO K. 2008: Grazing behaviour and performance of lactating suckler cows, ewes and goats on partially improved heathlands. Animal 2: 1818-1831 Go to original source...
  15. CHERRET J.M. 1964: The distribution of spiders on the Moor House Nature Reserve, Westmorland. J. Anim. Ecol. 33: 27-48. Go to original source...
  16. CLARKE K.R. & GORLEY R.N. 2001: PRIMER v5: User Manual/Tutorial. PRIMER-E, Plymouth, 91 pp
  17. CLARKE K.R. & WARWICK R.M. 2001: Change in Marine Community: An Approach to Statistical Analysis and Interpretation. Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Plymouth, 172 pp
  18. CUESTA D., TABOADA A., CALVO L. & SALGADO J.M. 2006: A preliminary investigation of ground beetle (Coleoptera: Carabidae) assemblages and vegetation community structure in Calluna vulgaris heathlands in NW Spain. Entomol. Fenn. 17: 241-252
  19. CUESTA D., TABOADA A., CALVO L. & SALGADO J.M. 2008: Shortand medium-term effects of experimental nitrogen fertilization on arthropods associated with Calluna vulgaris heathlands in north-west Spain. Environ. Pollut. 152: 394-402 Go to original source...
  20. CURTIS D.J. & BIGNAL E.M. 1980: Variations in peat-bog spider communities in relation to environmental heterogeneity. In Proceedings of the 8th International Congress of Arachnology. Vienna, pp. 81-86
  21. CURRY J.P. 1994: Grassland Invertebrates. Ecology, Influence on Soil Fertility and Effects on Plant Growth. Chapman and Hall, London, 437 pp
  22. DECAENS T., JIMENEZ J.J., BARROS E., CHAUVEL A., BLANCHART E., FRAGOSO C. & LAVELLE P. 2004: Soil macrofaunal communities in permanent pastures derived from tropical forest or savanna. Agric. Ecosyst. Environ. 103: 301-312 Go to original source...
  23. DENNIS P. 2003: Sensitivity of upland arthropod diversity to livestock grazing, vegetation structure and landform. J. Food Agr. Environ. 1: 301-307
  24. DENNIS P., YOUNG M.R., HOWARD C.L. & GORDON I.J. 1997: The response of epigeal beetles (Col.: Carabidae, Staphylinidae) to varied grazing regimes on upland Nardus stricta grasslands. J. Appl. Ecol. 34: 433-443 Go to original source...
  25. DENNIS P., YOUNG M.R. & BENTLEY C. 2001: The effects of varied grazing management on epigeal spiders, harvestmen and pseudoscorpions of Nardus stricta grassland in upland Scotland. Agric. Ecosyst. Environ. 86: 39-57 Go to original source...
  26. DENNIS P., SKARTVEIT J., MCCRACKEN D.I., PAKEMAN R.J., BEATON K., KUNAVER A. & EVANS D.M. 2008: The effects of livestock grazing on the foliar arthropods associated with bird diet in upland grasslands of Scotland. J. Appl. Ecol. 45: 279-287 Go to original source...
  27. DUFFEY E. 1962: A population study of spiders in limestone grassland. The field-layer fauna. Oikos 13: 15-34 Go to original source...
  28. DUFFEY E. 1968: An ecological analysis of the spider fauna of sand dunes. J. Anim. Ecol. 37: 571-599 Go to original source...
  29. ENTLING W., SCHMIDT M.H., BACHER S., BRANDL R. & NENTWIG W. 2007: Niche properties of Central European spiders: shading, moisture and the evolution of the habitat niche. Global Ecol. Biogeogr. 16: 440-448 Go to original source...
  30. GRANT S.A. 1981: Sward components. In Hodgson J., Baker R.D., Davies A., Laidlaw A.S. & Leaver J.D. (eds): Sward Measurement Handbook. British Grassland Society, Hurley, Maidenhead, Berks., pp. 71-92
  31. HARVEY P.R., NELLIST D.R. & TELFER M.G. (eds) 2002: Provisional Atlas of British Spiders (Arachnida, Araneae). Vol. 1 & 2. Biological Records Center, Huntingdon, 406 pp
  32. JAUREGUI B.M., ROSA GARCIA R., GARCIA U., WALLISDEVRIES M.F., OSORO K. & CELAYA R. 2008: Effects of stocking density and breed of goats on vegetation and grasshopper occurrence in heathlands. Agric. Ecosyst. Environ. 123: 219-224 Go to original source...
  33. KLEIJN D., BAQUERO R.A., CLOUGH Y., DIAZ M., DE ESTEBAN J., FERNANDEZ F., GABRIEL D., HERZOG F., HOLZSCHUH A., JOHL R., KNOP E., KRUESS A., MARSHALL E.J.P., STEFFAN-DEWENTER I., TSCHARNTKE T., VERHULST J., WEST T.M. & YELA J.L. 2006: Mixed biodiversity benefits of agri-environment schemes in five European countries. Ecol. Lett. 9: 243-254 Go to original source...
  34. KOMPOSCH C. 2004: The harvestman fauna of Hungary (Arachnida, Opiliones). In Samu F. & Szinetar C. (eds): European Arachnology 2002. Plant Protection Institute, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Berzsenyi Daniel College, Szombathely, pp. 227-242
  35. KREMEN C. 1992: Assessing the indicator properties of species assemblages for natural areas monitoring. Ecol. Appl. 2: 203-217 Go to original source...
  36. KREMEN C., COLWELL R.K., ERWIN T.L., MURPHY D.D., NOSS R.F. & SANJAYAN M.A. 1993: Terrestrial arthropod assemblages - their use in conservation planning. Conserv. Biol. 7: 796-808 Go to original source...
  37. LAKE S., BULLOCK J.M. & HARVEY S. 2001: Impacts of Livestock Grazing on Lowland Heathland in UK. English Nature, Research Report 422, Peterborough, UK, 143 pp
  38. LEPS J. & SMILAUER P. 2003: Multivariate Analysis of Ecological Data Using CANOCO. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 269 pp
  39. LUMARET J.P., KADIRI N. & BERTRAND M. 1992: Changes in resources: consequences for the dynamics of dung beetle communities. J. Appl. Ecol. 29: 349-356 Go to original source...
  40. MARRS R. & BRITTON A. 2000: Conservation problems on Breckland heaths: from theory to practice. Biol. Conserv. 95: 143-151 Go to original source...
  41. MCFERRAN D. 1997: Northern Ireland Species Inventories. Spiders (Arachnida). Queen University Belfast, Belfast, 51 pp
  42. MCFERRAN D.M., MONTGOMERY W.I. & MCADAM J.H. 1994: The impact of grazing on communites of ground dwelling spiders (Araneae) in upland vegetation types. Biol. Environ. 94: 119-126
  43. NIEMELA J. 2000: Biodiversity monitoring for decision-making. Ann. Zool. Fenn. 37: 307-317
  44. NORGAARD E. 1951: On the ecology of two lycosid spiders (Pirata piraticus and Lycosa pullata) from a Danish sphagnum bog. Oikos 3: 1-21 Go to original source...
  45. NYFFELER M. & BREENE R.G. 1992: Dominant insectivorous polyphagous predators in winter wheat: high colonization power, spatial dispersion patterns and probable importance of the soil surface spiders (Araneae). Dt. Entomol. Z. 39: 177-188 Go to original source...
  46. ORTUNO V.M. & MARCOS J.M. 2003: Los Caraboidea (Insecta: Coleoptera) de la Comunidad Autonoma del Pais Vasco (I). Servicio Central de Publicaciones del Gobierno Vasco, Vitoria, 573 pp
  47. OSORO K, GARCIA U., JAUREGUI B.M., FERREIRA L.M.M., ROOK A.J. & CELAYA R. 2007: Diet selection and live-weight changes of two breeds of goats grazing on heathlands. Animal 1: 449-467 Go to original source...
  48. OSTERMANN O.P. 1998: The need for management of nature conservation sites designated under Natura 2000. J. Appl. Ecol. 35: 968-973 Go to original source...
  49. OTTO C. & SVENSSON B.S. 1982: Structure of communities of ground-living spiders along altitudinal gradients. Holarctic Ecol. 5: 35-47
  50. OXBROUGH A.G., GITTINGS T., O'HALLORAN J., GILLER P.S. & KELLY T.C. 2006: The initial effects of afforestation on the ground-dwelling spider fauna of Irish peatlands and grasslands. For. Ecol. Manag. 237: 478-491 Go to original source...
  51. OXBROUGH A.G., GITTINGS T., O'HALLORAN J., GILLER P.S. & KELLY T.C. 2007: Biodiversity of the ground-dwelling spider fauna of afforestation habitats. Agric. Ecosyst. Environ. 120: 433-441 Go to original source...
  52. PEARCE J.L. & VENIER L.A. 2006: The use of ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) and spiders (Araneae) as bioindicators of sustainable forest management: a review. Ecol. Indicat. 6: 780-793. Go to original source...
  53. PELAEZ M.C. & SALGADO J.M. 2007: Ecologia y biologia de algunas especies de Carabidae (Coleoptera) del macizo del Sueve (Asturias): estudios fenologico y de fluctuacion anual. Bol. S.E.A. 40: 333-350
  54. PETILLON J. & GARBUTT A. 2008: Success of manager realignment for the restoration of salt-marsh biodiversity: preliminary results on ground-active spiders. J. Arachnol. 36: 388-393 Go to original source...
  55. PETILLON J., GEORGES A., CANARD A. & YSNEL F. 2007: Impact of cutting and sheep grazing on ground-active spiders and carabids in intertidal salt marshes (Western France). Anim. Biodivers. Conserv. 30: 201-209
  56. PLATNICK N.I. 2006: The World Spider Catalogue (Version 7.0). American Museum of Natural History. Available at: http://research.amnh.org/entomology/spiders/catalog/index.ht ml. Visited on 23.xi.2006
  57. PLIENINGER T., HOCHTL F. & SPEK T. 2006: Traditional land-use and nature conservation in European landscapes. Environ. Sci. Policy 9: 317-321 Go to original source...
  58. RAINIO J. & NIEMELA J. 2003: Ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) as bioindicators. Biol. Conserv. 12: 487-506 Go to original source...
  59. RAMBLA M. 1998: Opiliones (Arachnida) presentes en la fauna aragonesa. Cat. Entomol. Aragonesa 17: 3-7
  60. RATSCHTER U.M. & ROTH M. 2000: Studies on ground dwelling spiders (Araneae) of agrarian habitat types in northeast Germany: ecological and nature conservation aspects. Ekologia (Bratislava) 19: 213-225
  61. ROSA GARCIA R., JAUREGUI B.M., GARCIA U., OSORO K. & CELAYA R. 2009a: Effects of livestock breed and grazing pressure on ground-dwelling arthropods in Cantabrian heathlands. Ecol. Entomol. 34: 466-475 Go to original source...
  62. ROSA GARCIA R., JAUREGUI B.M., GARCIA U., OSORO K. & CELAYA R. 2009b: Responses of arthropod fauna assemblages to goat grazing management in northern Spanish heathlands. Environ. Entomol. 38: 985-995 Go to original source...
  63. ROSA GARCIA R., OCHARAN F.J., JAUREGUI B.M., GARCIA U., OSORO K. & CELAYA R. 2010: Ground-dwelling arthropod communities present in three types of Cantabrian (NW Spain) heathland grazed by sheep or goats. Eur. J. Entomol. 107: 219-227 Go to original source...
  64. ROSE R.J., WEBB N.R., CLARKE R.T. & TRAYNOR C.H. 2000: Changes on the heathlands in Dorset, England, between 1987 and 1996. Biol. Conserv. 93: 117-125 Go to original source...
  65. SANTOS F.H.S. 2007: Ecophysiology. In Pinto-da-Rocha R., Machado G. & Giribert G. (eds): Harvestmen: The Biology of Opiliones. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, pp. 473-488
  66. SINEIRO F., OSORO K. & DIAZ N. 1984: Bases para la produccion e intensificacion ganadera en el monte gallego: la utilizacion de la vegetacion espontanea y la siembra y mejora del pasto. In Pastos y Forrajes en Alimentacion Animal. Actas de la XXII Reunion Cientifica de la Sociedad Iberica de Nutricion Animal. SINA, Santiago de Compostela, pp. 195-219
  67. SNAZELL R. 1982: Habitat preferences of spiders on heathland in southern England. Bull. Br. Arachnol. Soc. 5: 352-360
  68. TER BRAAK C.J.F. & SMILAUER P. 2002: CANOCO Reference Manual and User's Guide to Canoco for Windows Software for Canonical Community Ordination (Version 4.5). Microcomputer Power, Ithaca, NY, 500 pp
  69. THOMAS C.F.G. & JEPSON P.C. 1999: Differential aerial dispersal of linyphiid spiders from grass and a cereal field. J. Arachnol. 27: 294-300
  70. TROPEK R., SPITZER L. & KONVICKA M. 2008: Two groups of epigeic arthropods differ in colonising of piedmont quarries: the necessity of multi-taxa and life-history traits approaches in the monitoring studies. Comm. Ecol. 9: 177-184 Go to original source...
  71. VLIJM L. & KESSLER-GESCHIERE A.M. 1967: The phenology and habitat of Pardosa monticola, P. nigriceps and P. pullata (Araneae: Lycosidae). J. Anim. Ecol. 36: 31-56 Go to original source...
  72. WARUI C.M., VILLET M.H., YOUNG T.P. & JOCQUE R. 2005: Influence of grazing by large mammals on the spider community of a Kenyan savanna biome. J. Arachnol. 33: 269-279 Go to original source...
  73. WEBB N.R. 1990: Changes on the heathlands of Dorset, England, between 1978 and 1987. Biol. Conserv. 51: 273-286 Go to original source...
  74. ZAHN A., JUEN A., TRAUGOTT M. & LANG A. 2007: Low density cattle grazing enhances arthropod diversity of abandoned wetland. Appl. Ecol. Environ. Res. 5: 73-86 Go to original source...