Differences in abundance, species richness, and body size of ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) between beech (Fagus sylvatica L.) forests on Podzol and Cambisol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Ten forest sites with a tree layer of almost pure beech in southern-central Scania, south Sweden, were studied. They were all located in the interior of large forest stands. Five of the stands were developed on mor Podzols with scanty or almost no ground layer vegetation. The other five sites were located on mull Cambisols with a rich ground layer of many vascular plant species and a shrub layer of varying density. In total, 42 carabid beetle species and 9260 individuals were captured with pitfall traps (15 per site, diameter 87 mm) during 12 weeks in April, July and September 2007. Composition of the carabid fauna differed considerably between the two types of sites. In the Cambisol sites 39 carabid species were found, compared to only 21 species in the Cambisol sites. Mean carabid species richness per site differed significantly between Cambisol and Podzol sites (n = 20.4 and 13.2, respectively). The difference was wholly due to a lower number of small carabid species (mean body length <12 mm) in the Podzol sites. Of four variables (pH-KCl, Clay, Organic matter, and Sum of plant cover percentages below tree canopy) the sum of plant cover variable usually accounted for more (>50%) of the carabid beetle variability compared to the three other variables. Carabus glabratus and Pterostichus oblongopunctatus were almost exclusively found on Podzol. Carabus coriaceus, Pterostichus melanarius and in particular Carabus nemoralis were more abundant on Cambisol, whereas Carabus hortensis and Pterostichus niger were almost ubiquitous and attained the highest total numbers. There was no significant difference between Podzol and Cambisol sites in the total number of carabid individuals captured. C. coriaceus, C. hortensis, and Carabus violaceus, species that were abundant enough in all sites for a comparison, had significantly larger mean body sizes in the Podzol than in the Cambisol sites, a finding valid for both sexes. There were more males than females of C. coriaceus, C. violaceus, and C. nemoralis in the catches, whereas sex distribution of C. hortensis was equal. Possible explanations for the findings are differences in microclimate and food web characteristics related to differences between Podzols and Cambisols in understorey vegetation and soil or litter properties. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Ecology


  • pH, Organic matter, Clay, Carabid, Carabus, Soil, Vegetation
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2154-2159
JournalForest Ecology and Management
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Plant Ecology and Systematics (Closed 2011) (011004000)