Journal of Insect Conservation

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 307–318 | Cite as

The species richness of click beetles in ancient pasture woodland benefits from a high level of sun exposure

  • Jakub Horák
  • Karel Rébl


Forests support high concentrations of species and beetles in particular are often used to evaluate forest biodiversity. Ancient pasture woodlands are facing a major decline in Europe mainly due to the abandonment of traditional management and subsequent succession. We studied click beetles (Coleoptera: Elateridae) in one of the largest central-European remnants of pasture woodland in Lány Game Park (Czech Republic) using flight interception traps placed at standing veteran trees. The gradient of sun-exposure, circumference of stem, height and vitality of tree and tree species were studied in relation to the species richness of click beetles and their ecological groups. Total species richness reached nearly one half of the recently documented fauna in the study area and species accumulations showed us that the majority of species were represented. Most species preferred solitary trees in sun-exposed habitats and avoided shaded trees in closed canopies. The same results were obtained for ecological groups, such as saproxylic and non-saproxylic species, functional groups and guilds. Our results showed that the species richness of one of the most ecologically diverse beetle families, click beetles, benefits from a high level of sun exposure. Thus, the long spatial and temporal continuity of sun-exposed veteran trees could be a good predictor for sustainable forest management.


Canopy openness Coleoptera Elateridae Veteran trees Forest biodiversity Saproxylic insect Guild Functional group Larval development 



We would like to thank the zoologist of PLA Křivoklátsko A. Hoffmannová, and all of the forest and game managers in the Lány Game Park (LS Lány), especially J. Janda, M. Štrunc, L. Frank and Š. Stanický for their deeply kind support during our study and the permission to access the study sites. E. Chumanová helped with the statistical analyses, A. Kohutka helped in the field, Z.F. Fric had many good ideas for improving this manuscript, T. Rose reviewed the English, two anonymous reviewers provided many good suggestions and editor provided a very careful final revision of the text. This project was funded by the contract PPK-2a/24/10 of non-governmental organization Lesák, o.s. ( and a grant from the CZ Ministry of Environment MSM 6293359101 of VÚKOZ, v.v.i. (


  1. Alexander KNA (2008) Tree biology and saproxylic Coleoptera: issues of definitions and conservation language. Rev Ecol 63:1–5Google Scholar
  2. Allen KA, Le Duc MG, Thompson DJ (2010) Habitat and conservation of the enigmatic damselfly Ischnura pumilio. J Insect Conserv 14:689–700Google Scholar
  3. Baselga A (2008) Determinants of species richness, endemism and turnover in European longhorn beetles. Ecography 31:263–271CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bohac J (1999) Staphylinid beetles as bioindicators. Agr Ecosyst Environ 74:357–372CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bouchard P, Grebennikov VV, Smith ABT, Douglas H (2009) Biodiversity of Coleoptera. In: Footit RG, Adler PH (eds) Insect biodiversity: science and society. Wiley-Blackwell, UK, pp 265–302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Buse J, Schröder B, Assmann T (2007) Modelling habitat and spatial distribution of an endangered longhorn beetle—A case study for saproxylic insect conservation. Biol Conserv 137:372–381CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Buse J, Ranius T, Assmann T (2008) An endangered longhorn beetle associated with old oaks and its possible role as an ecosystem engineer. Conserv Biol 22:329–337PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Chao A (1984) Non-parametric estimation of the number of classes in a population. Scand J Stat 11:265–270Google Scholar
  9. Colwell RK (2006) EstimateS: statistical estimation of species richness and shared species from samples. Version 8. Accessed on 5 May 2010
  10. Crawley MJ (2002) Statistical computing—an introduction to data analysis using S-Plus. Wiley, UKGoogle Scholar
  11. Dušánek V, Mertlik J (2010) Elateridae. Click beetles of the Palearctic region. Accessed on 26 Oct 2010
  12. Farkač J, Král D, Škorpík M (2005) Red list of threatened species in the Czech Republic. Invertebrates. Agentura ochrany přírody a krajiny ČR, PrahaGoogle Scholar
  13. Foit J (2010) Distribution of early-arriving saproxylic beetles on standing dead Scots pine trees. Agr For Entomol 12:133–141CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Franc N, Götmark F (2008) Openness in management: hands-off vs partial cutting in conservation forests, and the response of beetles. Biol Conserv 141:2310–2321CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Goldberg E, Kirby K, Hall J, Latham J (2007) The ancient woodland concept as a practical conservation tool in Great Britain. J Nat Conserv 15:109–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Goßner M, Engel K, Jessel B (2008) Plant and arthropod communities in young oak stands: are they determined by site history? Biodiv Conserv 17:3165–3180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gotelli NJ, Colwell RK (2001) Quantifying biodiversity: procedures and pitfalls in the measurement and comparison of species richness. Ecol Lett 4:379–391CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Graham MH (2003) Confronting multicollinearity in ecological multiple regression. Ecology 84:2809–2815Google Scholar
  19. Grove SJ (2002) Saproxylic insect ecology and the sustainable management of forests. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 33:1–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hanzák J, Moucha J, Zahradník J (1973) Světem zvířat V. díl (2. část). Bezobratlí. Albatros, PrahaGoogle Scholar
  21. Hicks H, Blackshaw RP (2008) Differential responses of three Agriotes click beetle species to pheromone traps. Agr For Entomol 10:443–448CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hill T, Lewicki P (2007) Statistics methods and applications. StatSoft, TulsaGoogle Scholar
  23. Hofmeister J, Mihaljevič M, Hošek J (2004) The spread of ash (Fraxinus excelsior) in some European oak forests: an effect of nitrogen deposition or successional change? For Ecol Manag 203:35–47CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Horák J (2011) Response of saproxylic beetles to tree species composition in a secondary urban forest area. Urb For Urb Gree 10:213–222CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Horák J, Vávrová E, Chobot K (2010) Habitat preferences influencing populations, distribution and conservation of the endangered saproxylic beetle Cucujus cinnaberinus at the landscape level. Eur J Entomol 107:81–88Google Scholar
  26. Horák J, Chumanová E, Hilszczański J (2012) Saproxylic beetle thrives on the openness in management: a case study on the ecological requirements of Cucujus cinnaberinus from Central Europe. Insect Conserv Divers. doi: 10.1111/j.1752-4598.2011.00173.x Google Scholar
  27. Hůla P (2009) Křivoklátsko Protected Landscape Area. Ochr Přír 1:2–5Google Scholar
  28. Jelínek J (1993) Check-list of Czechoslovak insects IV (Coleoptera). Fol Heyrovsk 1:1–172Google Scholar
  29. Johansson T, Hjältén J, Gibb H, Hilaszczański J, Stenlid J, Ball JP, Alnvi O, Danell K (2007) Variable response of different functional groups of saproxylic beetles to substrate manipulation and forest management: implications for conservation strategies. For Ecol Manag 242:496–510CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Johnson PJ (2002) Family Elateridae Leach, 1815. In: Arnett RH, Thomas MC, Skelley PE, Frank JH (eds) American beetles, vol 2., Polyphaga: Scarabeoidea through Curculionoidea. CRC Press, Boca Raton, pp 160–173Google Scholar
  31. Jonasova M, Vavrova E, Cudlin P (2010) Western Carpathian mountain spruce forest after a windthrow: natural regeneration in cleared and uncleared areas. For Ecol Manag 259:1127–1134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Jonsell M, Weslien J, Ehnström B (1998) Substrate requirements of red-listed saproxylic invertebrates in Sweden. Biodiv Conserv 7:749–764CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kaila L, Martikainen P, Puntilla P, Yakovlec E (1994) Saproxylic beetles (Coleoptera) on dead birch trunks decayed by different polypore species. Ann Zool Fenn 31:97–107Google Scholar
  34. Kaila L, Martikainen P, Punttila P (1997) Dead trees left in clearcuts benefit saproxylic Coleoptera adapted to natural disturbances in boreal forest. Biodiv Conserv 6:1–18Google Scholar
  35. Komonen A (2007) Are we conserving peripheral populations? An analysis of range structure of longhorn beetles (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) in Finland. J Insect Conserv 11:281–285CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Konstantinov AS, Korotyaev BV, Volkovitsh MG (2009) Insect biodiversity in the Palaearctic region. In: Footit RG, Adler PH (eds) Insect biodiversity: science and society. Wiley-Blackwell, UK, pp 107–162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Křístek J et al (2002) Ochrana lesů a přírodního prostředí. Matice Lesnická, PísekGoogle Scholar
  38. Laibner S (2000) Elateridae of the Czech and Slovak Republics. Kabourek, ZlínGoogle Scholar
  39. Lepš J, Šmilauer P (2003) Multivariate analysis of ecological data using CANOCO. Cambridge University Press, UKGoogle Scholar
  40. Lindbladh M, Brunet J, Hannon G, Niklason M, Eliasson P, Eriksson G, Ekstrand A (2007) Forest history as a basis for ecosystem restoration—A multidisciplinary case study in a south Swedish temperate landscape. Restor Ecol 15:284–295CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Lindenmayer DB, Franklin JF, Fischer J (2008) General management principles and a checklist of strategies to guide forest biodiversity conservation. Biol Conserv 131:433–445CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Lindhe A, Lindelöw Å (2004) Cut high stumps of spruce, birch, aspen and oak as breeding substrates for saproxylic beetles. For Ecol Manag 203:1–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Lindhe A, Lindelow A, Asenblad A (2005) Saproxylic beetles in standing dead wood density in relation to substrate sun-exposure and diameter. Biodiv Conserv 14:3033–3053Google Scholar
  44. Löbl I, Smetana A (2007) Catalogue of Palaearctic Coleoptera, vol. 4. Elateroidea, Derontoidea, Bostrichoidea, Lymexyloidea, Cleroidea and Cucujoidea. Apollo Books, Svenstrup, DenmarkGoogle Scholar
  45. Martikainen P, Kaila L (2004) Sampling saproxylic beetles: lessons from a 10-year monitoring study. Biol Conserv 120:171–181CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Martikainen P, Siitonen J, Kaila L, Punttila P (1996) Intensity of forest management and bark beetles in non-epidemic conditions: a comparison between Finnish and Russian Karelia. J Appl Entomol 120:257–264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Mason WL (2007) Changes in the management of British forests between 1945 and 2000 and possible future trends. Ibis 149:41–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. McGeoch MA, Schroeder M, Ekbom B, Larsson S (2007) Saproxylic beetle diversity in a managed boreal forest: importance of stand characteristics and forestry conservation measures. Divers Distrib 13:418–429CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Mertlik J (2010) A review of findings of click-beetle Agriotes gallicus Lacordaire, 1835 and jewel-beetle Anthaxia candens (Panzer, 1792), known from eastern Bohemia (Czech Republic). Elateridarium 4:33–67Google Scholar
  50. Moga CI, Hartel T, Öllerer K (2009) Ancient oak wood-pasture as a habitat for the endangered tree pipit Anthus trivialis. Biologia 64:1011–1015CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Müller J, Goßner M (2007) Single host trees in a closed forest canopy matrix: a highly fragmented landscape? J Appl Entomol 131:613–620CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. New TR (2007) Beetles and conservation. J Insect Conserv 11:1–4Google Scholar
  53. Niemelä J, Langor D, Spence JR (1993) Effects of clear-cut harvesting on boreal ground-beetle assemblages (Coleoptera: Carabidae) in western Canada. Conserv Biol 7:551–561CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Nieto A, Alexander K (2010) European red list of saproxylic beetles. Publication Office of the EU, LuxembourgGoogle Scholar
  55. Nilsson SG, Baranowski R (1994) Indicators of megatree continuity—Swedish distribution of click beetles (Coleoptera: Elateridae) dependent on hollow trees. Ent Tidskr 115:81–97Google Scholar
  56. Novotny V, Miller SE, Baje L, Balagawi S, Basset Y, Cizek L, Craft KJ, Dem F, Drew RAI, Hulcr J, Leps J, Lewis O, Pokon R, Stewart AJA, Weiblen GD (2010) Guild-specific patterns of species richness and host specialization in plant-herbivore food webs from a tropical forest. J Anim Ecol 79:1193–1203PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Økland B (1996) A comparison of three methods of trapping saproxylic beetles. Eur J Entomol 93:195–209Google Scholar
  58. Oliver I, Beattie AJ (1996) Designing a cost-effective invertebrate survey: a test of methods for rapid assessment of biodiversity. Ecol Appl 6:594–607CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Parker E, Howard JJ (2001) The biology and management of wireworms (Agriotes spp.) on potato with particular reference to the UK. Agr For Entomol 3:85–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Příhoda J (2008) Odhady škod po orkánu Kyrill (2007) a vichřici Emma (2008) v České Republice. Les Práce 4:6Google Scholar
  61. Rackham O (2006) Woodlands. Collins, LondonGoogle Scholar
  62. Rainio J, Niemelä J (2003) Ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) as bioindicators. Biodiv Conserv 12:487–506CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Ranius T (2002) Osmoderma eremita as an indicator of species richness of beetles in tree hollows. Biodiv Conserv 11:931–941CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Ranius T, Hedin J (2001) The dispersal rate of a beetle, Osmoderma eremita, living in tree hollows. Oecologia 126:363–370CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Ranius T, Jansson N (2000) The influence of forest regrowth, original canopy cover and tree size on saproxylic beetles associated with old oaks. Biol Conserv 95:85–94CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Rébl K (2010) Results of faunistic survey of beetles (Coleoptera) in the territory of Protected Landscape Area and Biospheric Reservation Křivoklátsko (Czech Republic). Elateridarium 4:1–253Google Scholar
  67. Schatz B (2006) Fine scale distribution of pollinator explains the occurrence of the natural orchid hybrid × Orchis bergonii. Ecoscience 13:111–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Schiegg K (2001) Saproxylic insect diversity of beech: limbs are richer than trunks. For Ecol Manag 149:295–304CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Schmidl J, Bußler H (2004) Ökologische Gilden xylobionter Käfer Deutschlands. Naturschutz Landschaftsplan 36:202–218Google Scholar
  70. Siitonen J (1994) Decaying wood and saproxylic Coleoptera in two old spruce forests: a comparison based on two sampling methods. Ann Zool Fenn 31:89–95Google Scholar
  71. Siitonen J, Saaristo L (2000) Habitat requirements and conservation of Pytho kolwensis a beetle species of old-growth boreal forest. Biol Conserv 94:211–220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Škoudlínová A (2000) Lánská obora. Okresní úřad Rakovník a Okresní úřad KladnoGoogle Scholar
  73. Spitzer L, Konvicka M, Benes J, Tropek R, Tuf IH, Tufova J (2008) Does closure of traditionally managed open woodlands threaten epigeic invertebrates? Effects of coppicing and high deer densities. Biol Conserv 141:827–837CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Sutherland WJ (2002) Openness in management. Nature 418:834–835Google Scholar
  75. Sverdrup-Thygeson A, Ims RA (2002) The effect of forest clearcutting in Norway on the community of saproxylic beetles on aspen. Biol Conserv 106:347–357CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Sverdrup-Thygeson A, Skarpaas O, Ødegaard F (2010) Hollow oaks and beetle conservation: the significance of the surroundings. Biodiv Conserv 19:837–852CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. ter Braak CJF, Šmilauer P (2002) CANOCO reference manual and CanoDraw for windows user’s guide: software for canonical community ordination (version 4.5). Microcomputer Power, IthacaGoogle Scholar
  78. Tolasch T, Von Vragstein M, Steidle JLM (2007) Sex pheromone of Elater ferrugineus L. (Coleoptera: Elateridae). J Chem Ecol 33:2156–2166PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Vera FWM (2000) Grazing ecology and forest history. CABI Publishing, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Vodka S, Konvicka M, Cizek L (2009) Habitat preferences of oak-feeding xylophagous beetles in a temperate woodland: implications for forest history and management. J Insect Conserv 13:553–562CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Wermelinger B, Flückinger PF, Obrist MK, Duelli P (2007) Horizontal and vertical distribution of saproxylic beetles (Col., Buprestidae, Cerambycidae, Scolytinae) across sections of forest edges. J Appl Entomol 131:104–114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Zicha O (2010) Biological library—BioLib. Accessed on 18 Dec 2010

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Silva Tarouca Research Institute for Landscape and Ornamental GardeningPrůhoniceCzech Republic
  2. 2.LesákPardubiceCzech Republic
  3. 3.Nové StrašecíCzech Republic

Personalised recommendations