Eur. J. Entomol. 111 (4): 537-541, 2014 | DOI: 10.14411/eje.2014.071

Application of the mean individual biomass of ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) to assess the assemblage successions along areas of recent glacier retreats

Mauro GOBBI
Department of Invertebrate Zoology and Hydrobiology, MUSE - Museo delle Scienze, Corso del Lavoro e della Scienza, 3, I- 38123 Trento, Italy; e-mail: mauro.gobbi@muse.it

Glacial retreat creates new habitat which is colonized by plants and animals during the process of primary succession. Traditionally, invertebrate succession along the glacier forelands has been spatially and temporally described by the following predictors: species richness, diversity/similarity indices and species traits. In this paper another approach is used and applied to carabid beetle assemblages in two alpine glacier forelands. It utilizes mean individual biomass (MIB), which is considered by several authors to be a good indicator of habitat successional stages. MIB increased with time since deglaciation and this is related to species turnover along the glacier forelands. Specifically, MIB is able to separate early from late successional stages. The former are characterized by carabid assemblages with low MIB values and species typical of pioneer habitats, while the latter are characterized by carabid assemblages with high MIB values and species typical of stable and mature habitats. Therefore, MIB seems to be a sensitive indicator of carabid beetle successional stages also along the glacier forelands.

Keywords: Coleoptera, Carabidae, primary succession, melting glaciers, body length, taxonomic distinctness, the Alps

Received: November 18, 2013; Accepted: June 26, 2014; Prepublished online: August 19, 2014; Published: October 1, 2014

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