Habitat specificity and variation of coleopteran assemblages between habitats in a southern african (Swaziland) agricultural landscape

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2006
Authors:C. N. Magagula
Journal:Biodiversity and Conservation
Date Published:Jan
Accession Number:ISI:000236032000030
Keywords:Dung beetles

Assessment of Coleopteran diversity and abundance was carried out in the lowveld region of Swaziland by pitfall trapping in five distinct habitats. Additionally, the study was to ascertain if any of the families collected illustrated habitat fidelity. 18 coleopteran families, comprising 2903 individuals were collected, with an additional 29 unidentified specimens, totalling 2932 beetles. Numerically, the top five families were the Scarabaeidae (2425), Carabidae (211), Tenebrionidae (149), Nitidulidae (37) and Curculionidae (22). 66.6% of all specimens collected were harboured within the pine windbreak while the lowest number (2.6%) was collected from the mature citrus orchard. The highest proportion (77%) of scarabaeid beetles collected occurred within the pine windbreak. Habitat specificity was illustrated by one family, Meloidae, which was found only in the young orchard. Community analysis was further carried out to ascertain distribution patterns of the dominant coleopteran families. Three scarabaeid species were found only in the pine windbreak while three carabid species occurred only in the indigenous savanna. Significant differences between habitats were observed in the number of beetles collected while no significant differences were observed in terms of the number of families observed in each habitat (p < 0.05). Results indicate that conservation of the various habitat patches within the mosaic studied could facilitate conservation of whole communities rather than individual species thus facilitating effective conservation of the agricultural landscape.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith