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The consumption pattern of 28 species of carabid beetles (Carabidae) to a weed seed, Viola arvensis

  • P. Deroulers (a1) and V. Bretagnolle (a1) (a2)


Seedbank control has been the cornerstone of agricultural management practices. Regulating weeds by using their predators, as a weed control strategy, may be a prerequisite of decreasing herbicide use, and has thus attracted much research investigating the possible contribution of both vertebrates and invertebrates as weed seed predators. Carabid beetles are considered as one of the most important invertebrate seed predators in agroecosystems. We aimed at investigating carabid beetle preferences to a single prey type, seeds of Viola arvensis. We measured the consumption of seeds in 28 species of carabid beetles, under controlled experimental conditions. Two main tribes are identified in tested species, Harpalini with 12 species and Pterostichini with ten species. We found no relationships between species body mass and Viola’s seed consumption, nor with the ratio between mandible length and labrum width (ML/LW). However, trends became significant with the ratio ML/LW when restricting these analyses to species that ate at least five seeds. In addition, we detected a positive and significant relationship between consumption rate and occurrence in trapping sessions over the last 3 years. These results are in favor of weed seeds control by carabids. Clear limits of this study are the use of a single seed species and under control conditions. This experimentation calls for additional studies to check for consistencies in consumption against seed species.


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