Effects of forest fragmentation on species richness and composition of ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae and Brachinidae) in urban landscapes


Kaoru Maeto, Laboratory of Insect Science, Graduate School of Agricultural Science, Kobe University, Rokkodai 1, Nada, Kobe, 657-8501 Japan. Email: maeto@kobe-u.ac.jp


To clarify the effects of forest fragmentation in urban landscapes on the abundance, species richness, dominance, and species composition of ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae and Brachinidae), we compared the beetles collected in 12 pitfall traps from April to July and from September to November between three continuous suburban forests and eight isolated urban forests (0.06–1.02 ha), most of which were in the precincts of shrines and temples in Hanshin District, Honshu, Japan. A total of 28 species and 4178 individuals of ground beetles were collected. Segregation of urban forests from continuous suburban forests has changed the species composition and resulted in the loss of some large-sized forest species and the addition of some non-forest species. Simpson's index of dominance (λ) also increased in the urban forests. The richness of forest species markedly decreased with the reduction in forest area but not with the distance from continuous forests, although the species richness of non-forest species did not change with them. Also, species composition changed only with forest area. These findings indicate that continuous forests do not necessary serve as a “mainland” for urban forest species and that every urban habitat, however small in size, acts as a temporary reservoir of species. In comparison with populations of small-sized species, populations of large-sized forest species appeared to decline more readily during forest fragmentation.