Eur. J. Entomol. 109 (4): 535-541, 2012 | DOI: 10.14411/eje.2012.067

The effect of disturbance caused by rivers flooding on ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae)

Pawe│ SIENKIEWICZ1, Micha│ »MIHORSKI*,2
1 Department of Entomology and Environmental Protection, Pozna˝ University of Life Sciences, D▒browskiego 159, 60-594 Pozna˝, Poland
2 Museum and Institute of Zoology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Wilcza 64, 00-679 Warsaw, Poland; e-mail: zmihorski@miiz.waw.pl

We studied the effect of flooding on a carabid community inhabiting grassland in a large river valley (W Poland). We used pitfall-traps to catch beetles from April to November 1999-2001. Some of the samples collected were preceded by floods during the collecting period, which enabled us to evaluate the effects of flooding on species composition and abundance. We collected 17,722 individuals belonging to 108 species. The number of species and individuals per sample differed between plots and showed a nonlinear decrease over time, from spring to autumn. Carabids were more abundant in samples collected after floods than in the control samples. In contrast, the expected cumulative number of species as a function of the number of individuals collected was lower in samples collected after floods than in the control samples. In the case of the most abundant species the species-specific responses in terms of the numbers caught after flooding differed, with those of (e.g. Agonum micans) increasing and those of (Amara plebeja, Epaphius secalis) decreasing. This study shows that floods filter the community with the result that some species increase in abundance but the overall species richness decreases. Therefore natural floods are important in shaping the structure of communities of epigeic carabids on floodplains.

Keywords: Carabidae, floodplain, flooding, disturbance, ground beetles, river ecology, biodiversity

Received: February 10, 2012; Accepted: June 18, 2012; Published: October 5, 2012

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