Eur. J. Entomol. 112 (4): 728-733, 2015 | DOI: 10.14411/eje.2015.075

Changes in ladybird (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) communities along a steep pollution gradient in subarctic forests of European Russia

Mikhail V. KOZLOV
Section of Ecology, University of Turku, FI-20014 Turku, Finland; e-mail: mikoz@utu.fi

Industrial air pollution constitutes a major environmental disturbance, and its impacts on insect communities have considerable implications for ecosystem structure and functions. Existing information on insect responses to pollution generally addresses abundant taxa, whereas few studies examine the effects of pollution on rare species. To begin rectifying this bias, ladybirds (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) were quantitatively collected annually from 2002-2014 in 13 sites located 0.7 to 39.7 km from the nickel-copper smelter in Monchegorsk, north-western Russia. Seven of eight recorded species were found only in severely and /or moderately polluted sites. Both Shannon's diversity index and coccinellid abundance decreased with increasing distance from the smelter. Thus, some groups of predatory insects, in particular the Coccinellidae, may benefit from environmental changes caused by severe industrial pollution, whereas the most abundant invertebrate predators generally suffer from such changes.

Keywords: Coleoptera, Coccinellidae, Calvia quatuordecimguttata, abundance, aerial pollution, copper-nickel smelter, diversity, Russia, Monchegorsk, predators, rare species, Salix

Received: March 19, 2015; Accepted: May 16, 2015; Prepublished online: July 10, 2015; Published: November 21, 2015

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