Isolating the components of activity-density for the carabid beetle Pterostichus melanarius in farmland
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- Thomas, C., Parkinson, L. & Marshall, E. Oecologia (1998) 116: 103. doi:10.1007/s004420050568
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The activity and density of the carabid beetle, Pterostichus melanarius, were studied over 10 weeks in a continuous mark-recapture experiment using a grid of pitfall traps spanning a hedgerow and extending approximately 30 m into two cereal fields; 1777 beetles were individually marked. The recapture rate was approximately 60% and 40% for males and females, respectively. Activity-density rose and fell four times between early June and mid August. Jolly-Seber estimates of density showed population density increasing to a single peak in late July. The mean population density in late July and August was relatively stable at approximately 0.26 m−2. Activity varied over the 10 weeks and was significantly higher during August than in June or July. The daily displacement distance frequencies, calculated from 750 male and 485 female recaptures of individually marked beetles, were distributed exponentially. Mean displacement distances were approximately 2.6 m day−1 during June and July, and 5.3 m day−1 during August. A diffusion model provided diffusion coefficients of 23.7 and 27.9 m2 day−1 for female and male beetles, respectively. The spatial distribution of P. melanarius was aggregated in patches. Spatial analysis by distance indices showed the spatial distribution of counts between successive periods of activity-density to be significantly associated. Approximately 5.75% of recaptures were from releases on the opposite side of the hedgerow. Approximately 20% of recaptures were from releases in opposite halves of the grid within the same field. The hedgerow acted as a significant barrier to dispersal between fields, with implications for the metapopulation structure of the species.