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Keywords:

  • Carabus hungaricus ;
  • long-term monitoring;
  • mark–recapture;
  • Natura 2000;
  • sandy grasslands;
  • time series

Abstract

  1. Carabus hungaricus is a ground beetle inhabiting the Pannonian steppes. It is highly endangered by fragmentation and abandonment of its habitat.
  2. For five consecutive years, from 2006 to 2010, we used the mark–release-recapture technique in a grid of 270 live-capture pitfall traps to study its population ecology in sandy grasslands on Szentendrei Island in the Northern vicinity of Budapest, Hungary.
  3. In total, 3950 individuals of C. hungaricus (1874 females and 2076 males) were marked.
  4. Population size was estimated at∼2000 individuals per year; the estimates for females were consistently higher than those for males. The minimum population size was 1317 ± 60.1 individuals in 2007, whereas the maximum was 2169.7 ± 108.8 individuals in 2008.
  5. Adults older than a year formed∼32–42% of the population, whereas individuals surviving for 3 years formed∼10%, and those surviving for 4 years formed∼2% of the population. Individuals older than 4 years comprised <1% of the population. Female survival rate was higher than that of male, but the capture rate also differed between sexes.
  6. Although the studied population showed considerable fluctuations in the pattern of activity during the 5 years, its size seemed to be relatively stable, underlining the importance of overlapping generations.