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Concept: Carabidae


The carabid beetle species Pterostichus oblongopunctatus is common in different types of forests in Poland and Europe. With respect to this species, some unclarities exist concerning the morphological feature of punctures on the elytra. P. oblongopunctatus has dorsal pits in the third interval of the elytra, the available identification keys, however, provide inconsistent information concerning the puncture in other intervals. During long-term studies at different study sites in Poland, the first author rarely but regularly discovered individuals with unusual dorsal puncture patterns, i.e., pits in the fifth and even in the seventh interval of the elytra. Since such rare patterns might be connected with special habitat characteristics, and thus have a potential as an indicator, the aim of the study was to test if they are connected with specific subpopulations (interaction groups), if they are related to the sex or size of the beetles, and if they are related to specific habitat conditions.

Concepts: Beetle, Adephaga, Ground beetle, Oak, Elytron, Bombardier beetle, Harpalinae, Carabidae


The host-parasite associations between ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) and hairworms (Nematomorpha: Gordiida) collected from the arctic (an understudied and ecologically important region) is described. Carabids and their parasites were collected from 12 sites spanning the 3 northernmost ecoclimatic zones of Canada (north boreal, subarctic and high arctic) using standardized methods. The beetles and hairworms were identified using traditional morphological approaches. Seven beetle species are recorded as hosts: Amara alpina, Pterostichus caribou, P. brevicornis, P. tareumiut, P. haematopus, Patrobus septentrionis, and Notiophilus borealis. All represent new host records (increasing the known North American host list from 14 to 21), and this is the first record of hairworm infection in the genus Notiophilus. Beetles from Banks Island, Northwest Territory, were infected in high numbers (11-19% per sampling period) and were used as an ecological case study. There was no significant relationship between infection status and host species, body size or sex. Beetles collected in yellow pan traps and in wet habitats were more likely to be infected, likely due to water-seeking behavior induced by the parasites. Morphological examinations indicate that the hairworms collected from all locations represent a single, new species of Gordionus, making it only the sixth hairworm species and the third species of that genus found in Canada. Hosts are unknown for all other Canadian (and 1 Alaskan) Gordionus species.

Concepts: Beetle, Canada, Adephaga, Ground beetle, Northwest Territories, Canadian Arctic Archipelago, Harpalinae, Carabidae


Despite the important roles ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) play in ecosystems, the highly valued ecosystem services they provide, and ample descriptive documentation of their phenology, the relative impact of various environmental factors on carabid phenology is not well studied. Using the long-term pitfall trap capture data from 12 terrestrial Environmental Change Network (ECN) sites from the UK, we examined how changing climate influenced the phenology of common carabids, and the role particular climate components had on phenological parameters. Of the 28 species included in the analyses, 19 showed earlier start of their activity. This advance was particularly pronounced in the spring, supporting the view that early phenophases have a greater tendency to change and these changes are more directly controlled by temperature than later ones. Autumn activity extended only a few cases, suggesting a photoperiod-driven start of hibernation. No association was found between life-history traits and the ability of species to change their phenology. Air temperatures between April and June were the most important factors determining the start of activity of each species, whilst late season precipitation hastened the cessation of activity. The balance between the advantages and disadvantages of changing phenology on various levels is likely to depend on the species and even on local environmental criteria. The substantially changing phenology of Carabidae may influence their function in ecosystems and the ecosystem services they provide.

Concepts: Biodiversity, Ecosystem, Beetle, Adephaga, Ground beetle, Bombardier beetle, Harpalinae, Carabidae


Carabids are recognized worldwide as biological control agents of agricultural pests. The objective was to compare the life cycle of Abaris basistriata Chaudoir (Coleoptera: Carabidae) on three substrates: soil, fine vermiculite, or paper napkins. The biological cycle of A. basistriata presented different durations in soil and paper. The viability of eggs and larvae survival of the first and second instars were similar on all three substrates, while the third instar and pupa in the soil presented higher survival when compared with vermiculite and paper. The soil substrate was more favorable for the longevity of the carabid beetle. Abaris basistriata showed a shorter pre-oviposition period and a higher oviposition and post-oviposition period in the soil. Fecundity and fertility were higher when A. basistriata was reared on soil. The soil was most favorable substrate for rearing of A. basistriata in the laboratory. This information may make this species useful for the biological control.

Concepts: Insect, Beetle, Biological pest control, Adephaga, Ground beetle, Bombardier beetle, Harpalinae, Carabidae


Effects of passive restoration of mountain rivers on the organisms inhabiting exposed riverine sediments are considerably less understood than those concerning aquatic biota. Thus, the effects of a recovery of the Raba River after abandonment of maintenance of its channelization scheme on ground beetle (Coleoptera: Carabidae) communities were investigated by comparing 6 unmanaged cross-sections and 6 cross-sections from adjacent channelized reaches. In each cross-section, ground beetles were collected from 12 sampling sites in spring, summer, and autumn, and 8 habitat parameters characterizing the cross-sections and sampling sites were determined. Within a few years after abandonment of the Raba River channelization scheme, the width of this gravel-bed river increased up to three times and its multi-thread pattern became re-established. Consequently, unmanaged river cross-sections had significantly larger channel width and more low-flow channels and eroding cutbanks than channelized cross-sections. Moreover, sampling sites in the unmanaged cross-sections were typified by significantly steeper average surface slope and larger average distance from low-flow channels than the sites in channelized cross-sections. In total, 3992 individuals from 78 taxa were collected during the study. The ground beetle assemblages were significantly more abundant and richer in species in the unmanaged than in the channelized cross-sections but no significant differences in carabid diversity indices between the two cross-section types were recorded. Redundancy Analysis indicated active river zone width as the only variable explaining differences in abundance and species richness among the cross-sections. Multiple regression analysis indicated species diversity to predominantly depend on the degree of plant cover and substrate grain size. The study showed that increased availability of exposed sediments in the widened river reaches allowed ground beetles to increase their abundance and species richness within a few years after the onset of river restoration, but more time may be needed for development of more diverse carabid communities.

Concepts: Regression analysis, River, Beetle, Adephaga, Ground beetle, Bombardier beetle, Harpalinae, Carabidae


Commercial cucurbit production typically involves agriculturally intensive practices, with fields prepared using conventional tillage, plasticulture, and chemically based pest management. Conservation-based management options are limited. In this study, we consider two alternative strategies, strip tillage and the use of row covers. We compare their impact on the beneficial carabid beetle (Coleoptera: Carabidae) community in melons and squash, following conventional or organic systems, over two years. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that soil management system (strip tillage versus plasticulture) was the primary variable influencing carabid distribution; row cover was a less important factor. The response to soil management was species dependent. Some dominant species, such as Harpalus pensylvanicus DeGeer, demonstrated no preference for a particular soil treatment. For others, including the tiger beetle, Cicindela punctulata Olivier, and a slug predator, Chlaenius tricolor Dejean, activity-density was higher in strip-tillage production systems. Our analysis suggested that strip-tillage production systems support a richer, more diverse carabid community. These results demonstrate that even within intensive annual horticultural systems, production practices can play a critical role in shaping the beneficial arthropod community, potentially encouraging or limiting ecosystem services.

Concepts: Agriculture, Beetle, Adephaga, Ground beetle, Bombardier beetle, Harpalinae, Carabidae, Tiger beetle


Ground beetle data were generated using pitfall traps in the 17-year period from 1993 to 2009 and used to investigate the effects of changes in surrounding crop cover on beetle activity and assemblages, together with the effects of weather variability. Beetles were recorded from non-crop field margins (overgrown hedges). Crop cover changes explained far more variation in the beetle assemblages recorded than did temperature and rainfall variation. A reduction in management intensity and disturbance in the crops surrounding the traps, especially the introduction and development of willow coppice, was concomitant with changes in individual species activity and assemblage composition of beetles trapped in non-crop habitat. There were no consistent patterns in either overall beetle activity or in the number of species recorded over the 17-year period, but there was a clear change from assemblages dominated by smaller species with higher dispersal capability to ones with larger beetles with less dispersal potential and a preference for less disturbed agroecosystems. The influence of surrounding crops on ground beetle activity in non-crop habitat has implications for ecosystem service provision by ground beetles as pest predators. These results are contrary to conventional assumptions and interpretations, which suggest activity of pest predators in crops is influenced primarily by adjacent non-crop habitat. The long-term nature of the assessment was important in elucidation of patterns and trends, and indicated that policies such as agri-environment schemes should take cropping patterns into account when promoting management options that are intended to enhance natural pest control.

Concepts: Agriculture, Ecosystem, Beetle, Adephaga, Ground beetle, Bombardier beetle, Harpalinae, Carabidae


Some species of obligate cavernicolous beetles are known to possess a unique feature-a contraction of the larval cycle. In contrast to many other subterranean beetles, life-cycle contraction in Trechini ground beetles (Carabidae) is correlated with a reduction in the number of eggs and a drastic reduction in the number of ovarioles. This remarkable peculiarity has only been reported for a small number of closely related species.

Concepts: Beetle, Adephaga, Ground beetle, Bombardier beetle, Harpalinae, Carabidae


Two new carabid beetle species, Pterostichus (Aphaonus) mariamae sp. nov. and Pterostichus (Aphaonus) svetlanae sp. nov., related to an enigmatic mountainous representative of the subgenus Aphaonus, P. (Aphaonus) arcanoides Lorenz, 1998, are described from the Abkhazian midlands (Tsebelda Plateau and Mtsara district). Discriminative features of the new species in the subgenus are briefly discussed.

Concepts: Beetle, Taxonomic rank, Adephaga, Ground beetle, Oak, Bombardier beetle, Harpalinae, Carabidae


Captures of insects in pitfall traps are affected by features of trap design that may confound the interpretation of data. One such feature is a lid suspended over the opening of the trap to exclude debris and rainwater. In this study, we tested whether use of these lids affected captures of carabid beetles by altering the light conditions at the opening to the trap. In one experiment, we examined the effects of lid transparency (opaque, semitransparent, or transparent) on catch rates. In a second experiment, we manipulated the heights (high, medium, or low) of vegetation adjacent to the traps to test for lid transparency and vegetation height interactions. We found that significantly more carabids were captured with use of transparent lids compared with other lid transparencies. Fewest Agonum cupreum Dejean, 1831, were captured with use of opaque lids. No other effects were detected. Given these results, we advocate the use of transparent lids, which provide the benefits of traditional opaque lids while minimizing the effects of lid use on light conditions at the opening to the trap.

Concepts: Insect, Beetle, Adephaga, Ground beetle, Bombardier beetle, Transparency, Harpalinae, Carabidae