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Biodiversiy of Ground Beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) From District Poonch, Azad Kashmir.

Byline: Junaid Rahim, Muhammad Rafique Khan, Muhammad Abdul Ghaffar Khan and Naila Nazir

Abstract

The present study was conducted to explore the fauna and biodiversity of family Carabidae (Coleoptera) from ten different localities of district Poonch, Pakistan during the year 2009- 2010. Diversity, abundance, richness and evenness were calculated. A total of 288 specimens of family Carabidae (Coleoptera) were collected. Five species belonging to 3 sub-families (Licininae, Carabinae, Brachininae) in three genera were identified. Carabus caschmirensis was the most abundant species, followed by Chlaenius quadricolar, Pheropsophus sobrinus, Chlaenius laticollis and then Chlaenius hamifer. Diversity abundance richness and evenness were calculated. The highest abundance, richness and diversity of the family Carabidae was recorded from Rawalakot and the lowest diversity was calculated from Alisojal. The lowest abundance was recorded from Datot. The highest evenness of the family Carabidae was recorded from Rawalakot and lowest was recorded from Alisojal.

Key Words: Biodiversity, abundance, ground beetle, diversity indices.

The family Carabidae is one of the larger groups of beetles with estimated 40,000 species throughout the world (Ball and Erwin, 1969); out of these, 32,500 species have been described (Lorenz, 2005). Ground beetles habitat is a permanent area of vegetated land, field edges, marginal lands or selected areas within a crop field. Members of the family Carabidae are in general of little importance as pests, some species are known to feed on seeds of plants but the damage done is usually not significant (Thiele, 1977). The majority of species have been observed as primarily predatory feeding on other insects and related organisms; they capture and consume a wide assortment of soil dwelling insects, including caterpillars, wireworms, maggots, ants, aphids and slug (Kromp, 1999). A few species have also been observed to detect chemical cues from springtails, mollusks and aphids (Lovei and Sunderland, 1996) and to effectively control slugs in greenhouses (Kromp, 1999).

Several ground beetle species are phytophagous and feed on the seeds of troublesome weeds species including common ragweed, common lamb's quarters and giant foxtail (Lundgren, 2005) and thus help to regulate weed populations; their weed predation is largely under estimated (Liebman and Gallandt, 1997; Tooley and Brust, 2002). Because of their significance as bioindicators and their role as agents of biological control of agriculture pests, carabids have been extensively used to assess the impact of soil management on ground-dwelling arthropods in many crops (Minarro and Dapena, 2003). In addition, carabid beetles are good indicators of environmental change (Thiele, 1977; Magura et al.,2000; Melnychuk et al., 2003) and are useful for examining geographical changes as they are highly sensitive to the effect of landscape changes, such as fragmentation (Niemela et al., 2000; Magura et al.,2001).

Some recent studies revealed that physiology of carabid beetles was adversely affected by the accumulation of toxic metals (Lagisz et al., 2002; Stone et al., 2002). Accumulation of copper in carabid species Poecilus cupreus at larval stage changed the locomotory behavior due to developmental damage in larval stages (Bayley et al., 2001). Kramarz and Laskowski (1997) reported that Poecilus cupreus fecundity was adversely affected by zinc treatment.

Carabids are taxonomically well known, with relatively stable systamatics and their ecology has been widely studied due to their sensitivity to environment, and productive role in agriculture (Lovei and Sunderland, 1996). The taxonomy of the family Carabidae is based exclusively on adults (Thompson, 1977), however carabid larvae possess good structural features and could be used to test phylogenetic hypotheses based study of adults (Goulet, 1977).

Carabidae can be very diverse in natural and agricultural environments. Nikolai and Lyubomir (2006) presented the distribution of 348 species of ground beetles belonging to 83 genera in south Dobrudzha, Bulgaria. Ghahari et al. (2010) listed 43 species of carabid beetle from apple orchards and alfalfa fields of Iran. Sakine and Martin (2009) recorded 57 species of ground beetles form crops in Turkey.

Beside the work done by Kamaluddin and Hashmi (1999) and Hashmi et al. (2005), Carabidae have been largely neglected in Pakistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

Keeping in view a great importance of carabid beetles as bioindicators, this study was designed to explore the fauna, distribution and diversity of the family Carabidae in district Poonch of Azad Kashmir during 2009-2010.

Materials and methods

Azad Kashmir lies between longitude 73@- 75@and latitude of 33@-36@ and it comprises of an area of 13397 Km2 and total of 13% area is under cultivation. Average rainfall is 1400-1800mm annually. The topography is mainly hilly and mountainous with valleys and plains in some places and rich in diverse fauna and flora. Carabid beetles were collected from ten different localities of district Poonch. The localities were Datot (33.7degN, 73.3degE, 6254ft), Topa (33.7degN, 73.9degE, 6471ft), Singola (33.9degN, 73.8degE, 5950ft), Khai-Gala (33.4degN, 73.9degE, 5761ft), Bunjosa (33.0degN, 73.9degE,5873ft), Hussainkot (33.8degN, 73.7degE, 6699ft), Rawalakot (33.8degN, 73.8degE, 5345ft), Alisojal (33.0degN, 73.9degE, 5524ft), Hajira (33.6degN, 73.3degE,3076ft) and Abasspur (33.6degN, 73.0degE, 4261ft). The localities were selected depending on the road links available and were at least 10-15 Km2 apart from each other. The maximum area of each locality was covered during the sampling from mid April 2009 to mid October 2010.

The localities were visited fortnightly from 9:30 pm to 4:30 am.

Carabid beetles were collected with the help of pitfall traps. Five pitfall traps were set up at each locality at appropriate distance but distances was not constant due to hilly topography of area. Each trap was a plastic cup with 25% ethylene glycol. Traps were set up for 15 days per month for 3 month during 2009 and 2010. Pitfall traps were visited fortnightly. The collection, stretching, pinning, labeling and preservation methods for the study of Carabidae were followed after Richard (1983).

The collected specimens of Carabidae were identified to the species level by using the available keys (Andrews, 1929; Choate, 2001). The relative abundance of the sub-families and species of the family Carabidae was calculated by using the formula;

where, "R" is the relative abundance(%), "ni" is the number of individuals in "ith" species and "N" is the total number of individuals in the sample.

The diversity was calculated using Shannon- Weiner's diversity index (Shannon and Weiner, 1963). The actual form of the index is: where, "pi" is the proportion within the sample of the number of the individuals of "ith" species Butthe form of the index used in the present study was: Where "N" is the total number of the individuals, "nr" is the rank abundance in "ith" species "C" is the conversion factor from log2 to log10.

The richness was calculated by using Margalef's index (Margalef, 1969).

Where "S" is the total number of species and "N" is the total number of individuals.

The evenness was calculated using RI index (Nakamura and Toshima, 1995).

The form of Nakamura's RI index used in this study was: Where "S" is the number of investigated species of insects, "M" is the number of rank of abundance (0, 1, 2, 3,... M - 1) and "Ri" is the rank value of "ith" species in the sample.

Results and discussion

A total of 288 specimens of family Carabidae were collected. Five species belonging to 3 sub- families in 3 genera were identified. These sub- families are Licininae, Carabinae, Brachininae and the species are Carabus caschmirensis, Chlaenius quadricolar, Pheropsophus sobrinus, Chlaenius laticollis and Chlaenius hamifer. Carabus cashmirensis was the most abundant specie. It was followed by Chlaenius quadricolar, Pheropsophus sobrinus, Chlaenius laticollis, and then Chlenius hamifer. The maximum abundance of family Carabidae was recorded from Rawalakot and the minimum abundance was recorded from Datot (Table I).

The relative abundance of the sub-families and species of Carabidae from each locality is given in Table I. Carabus caschmirensis yielded the highest and Chlaenius hamifer yielded the lowest percentage. Calculated values of diversity indices from each locality are given in Table II. The values of Shannon-Wiener's diversity index of the family Carabidae collected from localities of district Poonch ranged between 0.86 (Datot) to 2.25 (Rawalakot) (Table II). The calculated values of the Margalef's richness index of the family Carabidae collected from district Poonch ranged between 0.64 (Alisojal) to 1.29 (Rawalakot) (Table II)

The evenness of the species was measured by Nakamura and Toshima's diversity index (Nakamura and Toshima, 1995). The calculated values ranged between 0 (Alisojal) to 0.833 (Singola, Khai-Gala and Rawalakot) (Table II).

Subfamily Carabinae is distributed through India, Pakistan, Russia, Europe, south and Asia (Andrews, 1929). Carabus caschmirensis distributed throughout mountains of Pir Panjal 5000-6000ft, Punjab: Murree, Simla Kulu, and Hamalaya 7000ft (Andrews, 1929). This species is found to be active during night and in the moist habitats. Subfamily Licininae is distributed in Palearctic region (Ghahari et al., 2009) and the species Chlaenius quadricolar, Chlaenius laticollis and Chlaenius hamifer have not been reported from this region (Azad Kashmir) prior to this study. These species are found in soil and on dead decaying matter. Subfamily Brachininae distributed throughout Middle Asia, Russia, Ukraine, Moldova,

Table I.-###Species of family Carabidae and their relative abundance (%) collected from different localities of District Poonch.

Name of soecies###Abundance###Datot###Tona###Sineola###Khai-eala Baniosa###Hussainkot###Rawalakot Alisoial###Haiira###Abbasnur

Carabus caschmirensis###108 (37.5%)###4(1.38%) 12(4.16%) 18(6.25%)###8(2.77%)###9(3.47%)###13(4.16%)###12(4.16%) 14(4.86%)###4(1.38%) 14(4.86%)

Chlaenius hamifer###24 (8.33%)###4(1.38%)###2(0.69%)###4(1.38%)###2(0.69%)###2(0.69%)###2(0.69%)###-###-###4(1.38%)###4(1.38%)

Chlaenius laticollis###36(12.25%)###6(2.08%)###4(1.38%)###-###-###4(1.38%)###4(1.38%)###4(1.38%)###4(1.38%)###4(1.38%)###6

Chlaenius quadricolar###80(27.77%)###4(1.38%) 11(3.47%)###8(2.77%)###12(4.16%)###9(3.47%)###4(1.38%)###18(6.25%)###4(1.38%)###6(2.08%)###4(1.38%)

Pheropsophs sobrinus###40(13.88%)###4(1.38%)###2(0.69%)###2(0.69%)###6(2.08%)###8(2.77%)###4(1.38%)###6(2.08%)###-###6(2.08%)###2(0.69%)

Total no of Individuals###288###22###32###32###28###32###27###40###22###25###30

No of species###5###5###4###4###5###5###4###3###5###5

Caucasia Europe, Mountains of South East Middle Asia, Turkey, Moldova, Ukraine, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Iran (Ghahari et al.,2009) and there is no record of Pheropsophus sobrinus from Azad Kashmir. This species is found active during night.

Due to granivory and ant predation habit of carabid beetles their richness, diversity, and abundance were found associated with availability of food (Tooley and Brust, 2002; Ellsbury et al., 1998). The calculated abundance and diversity values showed some fluctuations probably reflecting because their great concern with environmental changes and anthropogenic activities. The habitat of beetles in the study area is under anthropogenic stress and rapid deforestation is occurring due to which level of abundance and diversity are fluctuating and are not very high.

Table II.- Calculated values of diversity indices from different localities of district Poonch.

###Locality###Name of###Shanno-###Nakamura's

###Locality###Wiener's###Index

###Index (H')###(RI)

###Abbaspur###1.50###1.17###0.75

###Alisojal###1.20###0.64###-

###Banjosa###1.47###1.15###0.75

###Datot###0.86###1.29###0.75

###Hajira###0.99###1.25###0.75

###Hussainkot###1.21###1.21###0.75

###Khai-gala###1.38###0.90###0.83

###Rawalakot###2.25###0.81###0.83

###Singola###1.86###0.86###0.83

###Topa###1.50###1.15###0.75

This type of study was the first study in the district Poonch. It is difficult to make conclusion about the fauna that it is at the brink of annihilation.

Therefore, it is suggested that continues monitoring of the area of the present study should be done in the coming years to perceive the changes in the diversity of the carabid beetles. Continuous monitoring and comparing the data collected of every year can observe the changes in the biodiversity.

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Department of Entomology, University of Poonch, Rawalakot, Azad Jammu Kashmir, Pakistan (Postal Code 12350)
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Author:Rahim, Junaid; Khan, Muhammad Rafique; Abdul, Muhammad; Khan, Ghaffar; Nazir, Naila
Publication:Pakistan Journal of Zoology
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Oct 31, 2013
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