Kettle Holes in the Agrarian Landscape: Isolated and Ecological Unique Habitats for Carabid Beetles (Col.: Carabidae) and Spiders (Arach.: Araneae)

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Abstract

Kettle holes are small depressional wetlands and because of the high variability of site factors they are potential hotspots of biodiversity in the monotone arable land. We investigated eight kettle holes and two agrarian reference biotopes for carabid beetles and spiders. The animals were captured with pitfall traps from May to August 2005, along with surveys of the soil and vegetation. We asked whether each kettle hole has specific ecological properties which match with characteristic carabid beetle and spider coenoses and whether they represent isolated biotopes. Differences in the composition of ecological and functional groups of carabid beetles and spiders between the plots were tested with an ANOVA. The impact of the soil variables and vegetation structure on the distribution of species was analyzed with a Redundancy Analysis. The assemblage similarities between the kettle hole plots were calculated by the Wainstein-Index. Ecological groups and habitat preferences of carabid beetles had maximal expressions in seven different kettle holes whereas most of the ecological characteristics of the spiders had maximal expression in only two kettle holes. High assemblage similarity values of carabid beetle coenoses were observed only in a few cases whereas very similar spider coenoses were found between nearly all of the kettle holes. For carabid beetles, kettle holes represent much more isolated habitats than that for spiders. We concluded that kettle holes have specific ecological qualities which match with different ecological properties of carabid beetles and spiders and that isolation effects affect carabid beetles more than spiders.

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