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Assessment of beetle diversity, community composition and potential threats to forestry using kairomone-baited traps

  • S. Olivier-Espejel (a1), B.P. Hurley (a1) and J. Garnas (a1)

Traps designed to capture insects during normal movement/dispersal, or via attraction to non-specific (plant) volatile lures, yield by-catch that carries valuable information about patterns of community diversity and composition. In order to identify potential native/introduced pests and detect predictors of colonization of non-native pines, we examined beetle assemblages captured in intercept panel traps baited with kairomone lures used during a national monitoring of the woodwasp, Sirex noctilio, in Southern Africa. We identified 50 families and 436 morphospecies of beetles from nine sites sampled in both 2008 and 2009 and six areas in 2007 (trap catch pooled by region) across a latitudinal and elevational gradient. The most diverse groups were mainly those strongly associated with trees, known to include damaging pests. While native species dominated the samples in terms of richness, the dominant species was the introduced bark beetle Orthotomicus erosus (Curculionidae: Scolytinae) (22 ± 34 individuals/site). Four Scolytinae species without previous records in South Africa, namely Coccotrypes niger, Hypocryphalus robustus (formerly Hypocryphalus mangiferae), Hypothenemus birmanus and Xyleborus perforans, were captured in low abundances. Communities showed temporal stability within sites and strong biogeographic patterns across the landscape. The strongest single predictors of community composition were potential evaporation, latitude and maximum relative humidity, while the strongest multifactor model contained elevation, potential evaporation and maximum relative humidity. Temperature, land use variables and distance to natural areas did not significantly correlate with community composition. Non-phytophagous beetles were also captured and were highly diverse (32 families) perhaps representing important beneficial insects.

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