Beetle assemblages in ponds: Effects of habitat and site age

  • Fairchild G
  • Faulds A
  • Matta J
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* 1Water beetle assemblages were sampled in each of 18 freshwater ponds, including 11 recently constructed sites designed to provide mitigation for wetlands destruction elsewhere, and seven older reference sites. There were three objectives: (a) to relate taxon richness and biomass of the beetles to the same properties of the wider aquatic invertebrate community, (b) to evaluate changes in beetle assemblage structure over time, and (c) to determine habitat effects on taxonomic composition, mean body size and trophic guild structure of the beetle assemblage. * 2Forty-seven beetle genera were identified, representing 77 species. The beetles represented an average of 21.5% of total generic richness, but only 3.7% of total wet biomass of the wider invertebrate community. * 3Of all variables evaluated using canonical correspondence analysis (CCA), site age had the greatest influence on the beetle assemblage. Predatory dytiscids were early colonists at younger sites, while herbivorous curculionids and chrysomelids associated with particular types of vegetation typically occurred in older ponds. Mitigation ponds and reference ponds supported similar numbers of species. Reference sites, however, harboured substantially more unique species found at only a single site within the study area. * 4The presence of fish was also strongly related to beetle assemblage structure. Ponds with few or no fish contained about 3-fold higher biomass and 3-fold greater mean wet weight per individual compared to ponds with substantial fish assemblages. * 5Beetle assemblage composition varied among sites and sampling years, but beetle biomass, richness and species composition may be useful tools in evaluating the success of wetland mitigation efforts.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Coleoptera
  • Mitigation
  • Size structure
  • Succession
  • Trophic guild
  • Water beetles
  • Wetland

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  • G. Winfield Fairchild

  • Ann M. Faulds

  • James F. Matta

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