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ŠUMARSKI LIST 9-10/2010 str. 45     <-- 45 -->        PDF

L. Šerić Jelaska,A. Ješovnik, S. D. Jelaska,A. Pirnat, M. Kučinić, P. Durbešić: VARIATIONS OF CARABID ... Šumarski list br. 9–10, CXXXIV (2010), 475-486


The relationship between habitat features and diversity
of ants and carabid beetles was analyzed.We recorded
great differences in carabid species composition and
abundance among plots, where carabid abundance, but
not the richness, was significantly higher in habitats
with higher complexity scores.Brose (2003a) showed
that an experimental reduction of vegetation complexity
reduced the activity-abundance of large carabid species.
Our results supports “enemy-free space hypothesis”
(Lawton,1983) that prey species have more chances
of escaping from natural enemies in dense vegetations.
We found that large carabids prefer dense vegetation
plots covered with leaf litter as enemy-free space.

Furthermore, carabid species richness was negatively
correlated with ant species richness.The results of
ant richness analyses differ from those of Lassau and
Hochuli (2004), but not those analyzing functional
groups where they also found the largest abundance of
opportunist species in low complexity sites. Stephens
and Wagner (2006) have found that species
richness, diversity, and dominance were a less satisfactory
measure of various forest management impacts on
ants than functional group analysis.

The highest number of ant species (14) and abundance
(1126 specimens) was recorded on plot 1, and
the lowest number of the species and their abundance
on plots 4 and 5. This result was in accordance with
their habitat preferences.Ants in general, with excep

tion of a few cold-temperate species, are thermophilic

animals, and function poorly below 20 oC and not at all

below 10 oC (Hölldobler and Wilson, 1994).
Greater abundance and species number in lower altitudes
can be explained, in addition to temperature, with
precipitations, thickness and volume of leaf litter and
available food resources (Brühl etal. 1999).

The highest Shannon-Wiener index for carabid diversity
(Table 5) was recorded on plot 5, situated in the
Chrysanthemo macrophylli–Aceretum pseudoplatani
forest, with high concentration of soil organic matter as
a consequence of the longer persistence of snow-cover
and hence higher soil humidity and a shorter micro-organism
activity period.The herbaceous layer of this forest
is characterized by nitrophilous plant species e.g.
Lunaria rediviva L., Urtica dioicaL., Corydalis solida
(L.) Swartz, etc.The impact of leaf litter origin on carabids
has also been reported byNiemeläetal. (1992),
Koivula etal. (1999) andMagura etal. (2005), in
which the latter two authors observed significant impact
of leaf litter on certain species e.g. Pterostichus
oblongopunctatus and C. caraboides. In this study,
both above mentioned species were found only on plots
4 and 5, which had the highest soil organic matter content.
Soils in cooler climates commonly have more organic
matter because of slower decomposition rate

Table 5
Shannon-Wiener (H’) indices, numbers of equally common species (N) and Smith & Wilson evenness
(S&W) for investigated plots

Tablica 5.Shannon-Wiener (H’) indeksi raznolikosti, broj zajedničkih vrsta (N) te Smith & Wilson jednolikost
(S&W) trčaka (carab.) i mrava (ants) na istraživanim plohama

Plots /
carab. ants
carab. ants
carab. ants
carab. ants
carab. ants
carab. ants
H’ 3.049 2.262 2.724 2.585 2.951 2.074 3.201 0.366 3.711 0.977 3.625 1.936
N 8.27 4.80 6.61 6 7.73 4.21 9.19 1.29 13.10 1.97 12.34 3.83
S&W 0.138 0.26 0.153 0.39 0.128 0.322 0.291 0.22 0.182 0.293 0.218 0.295

On plots 1, 2 and 3, smaller number of species was
recorded, while plots 4, 5 and 6 had a higher number of
species with a low abundance, indicating less structured
arthropods communities without dominant species.
Also, cluster analyses of species composition on six
plots divided carabids based on aspect and ants species
based on elevation of investigated plots.

Ant and carabid diversity and species body size distribution
highly correlate with altitude and aspect (expressed
as northness). On warmer, more south exposed
plots (plots 1, 2 and 3) smaller number of carabid species
was recorded. On the contrary, plots on northern
slopes (plots 4, 5 and 6) had a higher number of species
with a smaller number of specimens. Salgado et al.
(1997) reported similar findings in their research of deciduous
oak forests, where 10 of 42 species represented
90% of the total catch on five plots. They recorded a
smaller number of species on plots with higher abundance
of specimens and those with smaller abundance
and larger number of species, the latter having unstable
climatic conditions. In this study, plot 1, with recorded
capture of 47.11% of the total catch, is situated at the lowest
altitude with southern exposure, thereby ensuring
more stable and warmer climate conditions that enable
formation of ground beetle communities with the dominant
and co-dominant species present (e.g. A. bombarda,
A. parallelus, A. parallelepipedus, C. ullrichi, C.
nemoralis, C. convexusandC. intricatus; Table 3). The
highest number of carabid species, but the lowest abundance
was recorded at the highest altitude (plot 4) with
the lowest habitat complexity score. Flightless forest
specialist such as C. caraboides that preferred higher