Alexander B. Ruchin,
Sergei K. Alekseev,
Anatoliy A. Khapugin

Reference to article

Ruchin A.B., Alekseev S.K., Khapugin A.A. 2019. Post-fire fauna of carabid beetles (Coleoptera, Carabidae) in forests of the Mordovia State Nature Reserve (Russia). Nature Conservation Research 4(Suppl.1).

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Wildfires are among the basic ecological factors that change habitats and initiate the succession of new forest communities. Burned areas are ephemeral habitats presenting a broad range of ecological niches that many insect species may exploit. In 2016, we studied the carabid fauna in burned pine forests of the Mordovia State Nature Reserve (European Russia). Sixty carabid beetles in total were collected in an unburned (control) area and on sites damaged by crown fire and surface fire. Carabids were more numerous and diverse in the burned areas, compared to the unburned forest, while the catch index was significantly higher in unburned area. This was due to the extremely high dynamic density of Carabus arcensis on the control site, while it was ten times lower in the burned area. The number of carabid species tended to increase in the sequence unburned forest – forest impacted by surface fire – forest impacted by crown fire. Expectedly, species compositions were more similar between fire-damaged areas, while there was a higher difference between the unburned site and area damaged by crown fire. Concerning trophic group classification, all carabid beetles were distinguished in two groups, zoophagous species and myxophytophagous species. In both groups, the species number increases in the sequence from unburned areas to the forest impacted by crown fire. Finally, the dynamic density of some carabids (e.g. Poecilus lepidus, P. versicolor, Harpalus tardus, H. rufipes, H. rubripes, Cicindela sylvatica) largely increased after fire impact, while it decreased for the most other species. Our results suggest that burning of the forest stand may support some carabid species, i.e. larger forest fire increases species richness of beetle fauna. The highest dynamic density of the carabids is maintained by a few beetle species (Carabus arcensis, C. hortensis, Pterostichus oblongopunctatus).


dynamic density, insects, species composition, trophic group, wildfire, wildfire severity

Artice information

Received: 18.11.2018. Revised: 23.01.2019. Accepted: 27.01.2019

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