Skip to main content Accessibility help

Boreal ground-beetle (Coleoptera: Carabidae) assemblages of the mainland and islands in Lac la Ronge, Saskatchewan, Canada

  • Aaron J. Bell (a1) (a2), Iain D. Phillips (a2) (a3) (a4), Scott E. Nielsen (a1) and John R. Spence (a1)
  • Please note a correction has been issued for this article.


We tested the applicability of the “passive sampling” hypothesis and theory of island biogeography (TIB) for explaining the diversity of forest-dwelling carabid assemblages (Carabidae: Coleoptera) on 30 forested islands (0.2–980.7 ha) in Lac la Ronge and the adjacent mainland in Saskatchewan, Canada. Species richness per unit area increased with distance to mainland with diversity being highest on the most isolated islands. We detected neither a positive species-area relationship, nor significant differences in species richness among island size classes, or between islands and the mainland. Nonetheless, carabid assemblages distinctly differed on islands <1 ha in area and gradually approached the structure of mainland assemblages as island area increased. Small islands were characterised by abundant populations of small-bodied, winged species and few if any large-bodied, flightless species like Carabus taedatus Fabricius. Our findings suggest that neither the “passive sampling” hypothesis nor the theory of island biogeography adequately explain carabid beetle diversity patterns observed among islands in Lac la Ronge. Instead, we hypothesise that population processes such as higher extinction rates of large-bodied, flightless species and the associated release of smaller-bodied, flying species from intra-guild predation on small islands contribute to observed differences in the structure of carabid assemblages between islands.


Corresponding author

1 Corresponding author (e-mail:


Hide All

Subject editor: Derek Sikes



Hide All
Ås, S., Bengtsson, J., and Ebenhard, T. 1997. Archipelagoes and theories of insularity. Ecological Bulletin, 46: 88116.
Bell, R.T. 1982. What is Trachypachus? (Coleoptera: Trachypachidae). The Coleopterists Bulletin, 36: 590596.
Bergeron, J.A.C., Spence, J.R., and Volney, W.J.A. 2011. Landscape patterns of species-level association between ground-beetles and overstory trees in boreal forests of western Canada (Coleoptera, Carabidae). Zookeys, 147: 577600.
Blake, S., Foster, G.N., Eyre, M.D., and Luff, M.L. 1994. Effects of habitat type and grassland management practices on the body size distribution of carabid beetles. Pedobiologia, 38: 502512.
Bousquet, Y. 2010. Illustrated identification guide to adults and larvae of northeastern North American ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae). Pensoft Series Faunistica. Volume 90. Pensoft Publishers, Sofia, Bulgaria.
Bousquet, Y., Bouchard, P., Davies, A.E., and Sikes, D.S. 2013. Checklist of beetles (Coleoptera) of Canada and Alaska. Second edition. ZooKeys, 360: 144.
Clarke, K.R. and Warwick, R.M. 2001. Change in marine communities: an approach to statistical analysis and interpretation, 2nd edition, PRIMER-E, Plymouth, United Kingdom.
Connor, E.F. and McCoy, E.D. 1979. The statistics and biology of the species-area relationship. The American Naturalist, 113: 791833.
Currie, C.R., Spence, J.R., and Niemelä, J. 1996. Competition, cannibalism, and intraguild predation among ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae): a laboratory study. The Coleopterists Bulletin, 50: 135148.
Digweed, S.C., Currie, C.R., Cárcamo, H.A., and Spence, J.R. 1995. Digging out the “digging-in effect” of pitfall traps: influences of depletion and disturbance on catches of ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae). Pedobiologia, 39: 561576.
Environmental Systems Research Institute. 2011. ArcGIS Desktop: Release 10. Environmental Systems Research Institute, Redlands, California, United States of America.
Gotelli, N.J. and Graves, G.R. 1996. Null models in ecology. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America.
Hanski, I. and Gyllenberg, M. 1997. Uniting the general patterns in the distribution of species. Science, 275: 397400.
Hooper, R.R. and Larson, D.J. 2012. Checklist of beetles (Coleoptera: Insecta) of Saskatchewan [online]. Available from [accessed 29 July 2016].
Järvinen, O. and Ranta, E. 1987. Patterns and processes in species assemblages on northern Baltic islands. Annales Zoologici Fennici, 24: 249266.
Karjalainen, S. 2000. A beetle monitoring in the eastern Gulf of Finland National Park in 1996–2000. Finnish Forest and Park Service, Natural Heritage Service, Finland.
Kelly, B.J., Wilson, J.B., and Mark, A.F. 1989. Causes of the species-area relation – a study of islands in Lake Manapouri, New Zealand. Journal of Ecology, 77: 10211028.
Kindt, R. and Coe, R. 2005. Tree diversity analysis. A manual and software for common statistical methods for ecological and biodiversity studies. World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Nairobi, Kenya. Available from [accessed 15 March 2017].
Kotze, D.J. 2008. The occurrence and distribution of carabid beetles (Carabidae) on islands in the Baltic Sea: a review. Journal of Insect Conservation, 12: 265276.
Kotze, D.J. and Niemelä, J. 2002. Year-to-year variation in carabid beetle (Coleoptera, Carabidae) assemblages on the Åland Islands, southwest Finland. Journal of Biogeography, 29: 375386.
Kotze, D.J., Niemelä, J., and Nieminen, M. 2000. Colonization success of carabid beetles on Baltic Islands. Journal of Biogeography, 27: 807819.
Lindroth, C.H. 1969. The ground-beetles of Canada and Alaska. Opuscula Entomologica Supplement, 20, 24, 26, 29, 33, 34, 35: 11192.
MacArthur, R.H. and Wilson, E.O. 1963. An equilibrium theory of insular zoogeography. Evolution, 17: 373387.
MacArthur, R.H. and Wilson, E.O. 1967. The theory of island biogeography. Princeton Press, Princeton, New Jersey, United States of America.
Nielsen, S.E., DeLancey, E.R., Reinhardt, K., and Parisien, M-A. 2016. Effects of lakes on wildfire activity in the boreal forest of Saskatchewan, Canada. Forests, 7: 118.
Niemelä, J. 1993. Interspecific competition in ground-beetle assemblages (Carabidae): what have we learned? Oikos, 66: 325335.
Niemelä, J., Haila, Y., and Halme, E. 1988. Carabid beetles on isolated Baltic Islands and on the adjacent Åland mainland: variation in colonization success. Annales Zoologici Fennici, 25: 133143.
Niemelä, J., Haila, Y., Ranta, E., Tiaine, J., Vepsäläinen, K., and Ås, S. 1987. Distribution of carabid beetles in four boreal archipelagos. Annales Zoologici Fennici, 24: 89100.
Niemelä, J., Ranta, E., and Haila, Y. 1985. Carabid beetles in lush forest patches on the Åland Islands, south-west Finland: an island-mainland comparison. Journal of Biogeography, 12: 109120.
Niemelä, J. and Spence, J.R. 1991. Distribution and abundance of an exotic ground-beetle (Carabidae): a test of community impact. Oikos, 62: 351359.
Oksanen, J., Blanchet, G.F., Kindt, R., Legendre, P., Minchin, P.R., O’Hara, R.B., et al. 2015. Vegan: community ecology package. R package version 2.2-1. Available from [accessed 15 March 2017].
R Development Core Team. 2013. R: a language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. Available from [accessed 15 March 2017].
Rawson, D.S. and Atton, F.M. 1953. Biological investigation and fisheries management at Lac la Ronge, Saskatchewan. Fisheries Branch, Report 1, Saskatchewan Department of Natural Resources, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Pp. 139.
Renault, D. 2011. Sea water transport and submersion tolerance as dispersal strategies for the invasive ground beetle Merizodus soledadinus (Carabidae). Polar Biology, 34: 15911595.
Schoener, T.W. and Janzen, D.H. 1968. Notes on environmental determinants of tropical versus temperate insect size patterns. The American Naturalist, 102: 207224.
Šerić Jelaska, L. and Durbešić, P. 2009. Comparison of the body size and wing form of carabid species (Coleoptera: Carabidae) between isolated and continuous forest habitats. Annales de la Société Entomologique de France: International Journal of Entomology, 45: 327338.
Shibuya, S., Kubota, K., Masahiko, O., and Kikvidze, Z. 2011. Assembly rules for ground beetle communities: what determines community structure, environmental factors or competition? European Journal of Entomology, 108: 453459.
Spence, J.R. and Niemelä, J.K. 1994. Sampling carabid assemblages with pitfall traps: the madness and the method. The Canadian Entomologist, 126: 881894.
Szyszko, J., Vermuelen, H.J.W., Klimaszewski, M., and Schwerk, A. 2000. Mean individual biomass (MIB) of ground beetles (Carabidae) as an indicator of the state of the environment. In Natural history and applied ecology of carabid beetles. Edited by P. Brandmayr, G. Lövei, T.Z. Brandmayr, A. Casale, and A.V. Taglianti. Pensoft Publishers, Sofia, Bulgaria. Pp. 289294.
Teller, J.T. and Leverington, D.W. 2004. Glacial Lake Agassiz: a 5000 yr history of change and its relationship to the δ18O record of Greenland. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 116: 729742.
Williams, C.B. 1964. Patterns in the balance of nature. Academic Press, London, United Kingdom.
Work, T.T., Buddle, C.M., Korinus, L.M., and Spence, J.R. 2002. Pitfall trap size and capture of three taxa of litter-dwelling arthropods: implications for biodiversity studies. Environmental Entomology, 31: 438448.

Related content

Powered by UNSILO
Type Description Title
Supplementary materials

Bell supplementary material
Bell supplementary material 1

 PDF (588 KB)
588 KB
Supplementary materials

Bell supplementary material
Bell supplementary material 2

 PDF (132 KB)
132 KB
Supplementary materials

Bell supplementary material
Bell supplementary material 3

 PDF (239 KB)
239 KB

Boreal ground-beetle (Coleoptera: Carabidae) assemblages of the mainland and islands in Lac la Ronge, Saskatchewan, Canada

  • Aaron J. Bell (a1) (a2), Iain D. Phillips (a2) (a3) (a4), Scott E. Nielsen (a1) and John R. Spence (a1)
  • Please note a correction has been issued for this article.


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.

A correction has been issued for this article: