The effects of habitat changes on the endangered ground beetle Carabus nitens (Coleoptera Carabidae)

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Carabus nitens, one of the most endangered ground beetles in Central Europe, was investigated with pitfall traps at 30 sampling sites in 17 heath fragments of the largest German heath landscape under nature conservation (nature reserve 'Luneburger Heide'). The preference for damp Erica heaths and dry Calluna heaths in the building phase was thereby evident. Calluna heaths in the mature and degenerate phase, with and without extensive coverage by Avenella flexuosa, are either not inhabited or are avoided. The results of ovary dissections indicate that the populations in two successive spring seasons consisted mainly of animals which had already reproduced and were therefore older than one and a half years. Allozyme electrophoreses revealed variation for three of the nine investigated enzyme loci, and large differences in the allele frequency at one of these loci indicated genetic drift and fluctuations in the size of local populations. According to these results and statements in the literature, the loss of heathland areas and habitat quality are both responsible for the decline of the species. Suitable measures for preserving the species are (1) restoration of building phases of the Calluna heaths and (2) interconnection of at least the smaller heath fragments. Finally, recommendations are given for reintroductions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Insect Conservation
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)107-116
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 06.1999
Externally publishedYes