Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 763–779

How good are carabid beetles (Coleoptera, Carabidae) as indicators of invertebrate abundance and order richness?

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10531-011-0215-9

Cite this article as:
Cameron, K.H. & Leather, S.R. Biodivers Conserv (2012) 21: 763. doi:10.1007/s10531-011-0215-9


Ground invertebrates were sampled by pitfall trapping on Brentmoor Heath, Surrey, UK during the summers of 2009 and 2010 to determine whether the abundance and species richness of carabids on bare ground patches are representative of invertebrate abundance and order richness on the same patches. Four patch sizes were investigated as well as the adjacent mown and unmown areas, and a range of environmental parameters were measured at each patch. Results show that increasing abundance and richness of carabids can give a broad indication of whether invertebrate abundance and order richness are increasing. Invertebrates in general are sensitive to a greater number of environmental variables and complex interactions than carabids are, due to the vast array of biological requirements of the large range of invertebrate species. All else being equal, smaller patches appear to benefit both carabid abundance and invertebrate abundance. Converse to the results of carabid species richness, larger patches appear to benefit invertebrate order richness. This study highlights the importance of testing the effect of habitat management strategies on a range of taxa rather than assuming the results for a bioindicator will suffice for management decisions. Whilst bioindicators may give a broad indication of effects on similar taxa, the precise nature of those effects will be determined by a number of species- and site-specific variables.


Carabid beetlesIndicator speciesBare groundBiodiversityHeathlandInvertebrates

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of BiologyImperial College LondonAscot, LondonUK