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HABITAT ASSOCIATIONS AND SEASONAL ACTIVITY OF GROUND-BEETLES (COLEOPTERA, CARABIDAE) IN CENTRAL ALBERTA

  • Jari Niemelä (a1), John R. Spence (a1) and Deborah H. Spence (a1)

Abstract

Carabid beetles were collected with grids of pitfall traps during two seasons in five habitats in the ecotone between aspen parkland and boreal mixedwood forest in central Alberta. The 23 abundant species (54 species in total) were divided into the following four distributional types: (1) Pterostichus adstrictus Eschz. was numerous in all five habitats (habitat generalist); (2) Platynus decentis Say, Calathus ingratus Dej., and Scaphinotus marginatus Fisch. were abundant in all four forest habitats (forest generalists); (3) another 10 species were common in one or two forest habitats (forest specialists); (4) nine species, representing mainly Agonum, Amara, and Bembidion, were restricted to a recently cleared timothy–clover grassland (meadow species). Soil moisture seemed to be important in determining habitat associations of the species among the forest types. Captures of most species were aggregated also within habitats, and the consistency of aggregation among particular traps suggests that it is mainly a response to subtle microhabitat differences. All abundant species, except S. marginatus, showed a peak of capture in May–June. Number of species, corrected for sample size by rarefaction, was highest in the meadow (27.5) and lowest in the dry upland aspen forest (11.9). Species diversity was highest in meadow and the lakeside forest habitats, but carabid assemblages of the four forest habitats were more similar to each other than to the meadow assemblage.

Des carabes ont été capturés au moyen de pièges à fosses installés sur des grilles échantillons durant deux saisons, en cinq habitats de l’écotone situé entre un boisé de trembles et une forêt boréale mixte dans le centre de l’Alberta. Les 23 espèces abondantes (54 espèces en tout) étaient réparties selon les quatre catégories suivantes : (1) Pterostichus adstrictus Eschz. abondait dans les cinq habitats (généraliste quant au choix d’habitat), (2) Platynus decentis Say, Calathus ingratus Dej. et Schaphinotus marginatus Fisch. abondaient dans tous les habitats de la forêt (généralistes forestiers), (3) 10 autres espèces étaient communes dans l’un ou deux des habitats forestiers (spécialistes forestiers) et (4) neuf espèces, surtout des représentants d’Agonum, Amara et Bembidion, étaient restreintes à une prairie de phléoles–trèfles (espèces de prairie). L’humidité du sol semblait un important facteur de préférence d’habitat chez les espèces des types forestiers. La plupart des espèces étaient regroupées dans les habitats, et la fréquence plus grande des captures dans certains pièges semble indiquer les effets de différences subtiles entre les microhabitats. Toutes les espèces abondantes, à l’exception de S. marginatus, ont été capturées surtout en mai–juin. Le nombre d’espèces, après correction pour tenir compte des modifications de la taille des échantillons à cause de la raréfaction, était maximal dans la prairie (27,5) et minimal dans la forêt sèche et haute de trembles (11,9). La diversité des espèces était maximale dans la prairie et les habitats forestiers situés en bordure de lac, mais les associations de carabes des quatre habitats forestiers étaient plus semblables les unes aux autres qu’à l’association rencontrée en prairie.

[Traduit par la rédaction]

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The Canadian Entomologist
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