Eur. J. Entomol. 112 (4): 747-754, 2015 | 10.14411/eje.2015.071

Is the type of soil an important factor determining the local abundance of carrion beetles (Coleoptera: Silphidae)?

Pavel JAKUBEC, Jan RŮŽIČKA
Department of Ecology, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Kamýcká 129, CZ-165 21 Prague 6 - Suchdol, Czech Republic; e-mails: jakubecp@fzp.czu.cz; ruzickajan@fzp.czu.cz

Carrion beetles (Coleoptera: Silphidae) provide a valuable ecosystem service by promoting nutrient cycling and controlling pests like noxious flies (Diptera: Calliphoridae and Sarcophagidae). Our main goal was to examine the relationship between the occurrence of carrion beetles and soil type. We used pitfall traps to collect 43,856 specimens of 15 species of carrion beetles in the Czech Republic during 2009. We found that the abundance of seven of the carrion beetles - Nicrophorus antennatus (Reitter), N. germanicus (Linnaeus), N. humator (Gleditsch), N. interruptus (Stephens), N. sepultor (Charpentier), Silpha obscura obscura (Herbst) and T. sinuatus (Fabricius) - was significantly higher either in areas with chernozem or fluvisol soils. These findings support our hypothesis that soil type could be an important factor determining the occurrence of necrophagous European carrion beetles. Our findings could be helpful when selecting important nature conservation sites (particularly inasmuch as N. antennatus, N. germanicus and N. sepultor are listed as endangered species on the Czech Red List of Invertebrates) as in this respect localities where there are chernozem soils are potentially valuable.

Keywords: Coleoptera, Silphidae, Nicrophorinae, Silphinae, ecology, burying beetles, soil type, chernozem, fluvisol, diversity

Received: February 25, 2015; Accepted: June 8, 2015; Prepublished online: July 8, 2015; Published: November 21, 2015

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