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Research article2013Peer reviewedOpen access

The effect of landscape structure and habitat composition on the presence of the threatened parasitic sand-living beetle Apalus bimaculatus (Coleoptera: Meloidae)

Ahlback, Lina; Berggren, Asa


Apalus bimaculatus (Linnaeus) (Coleoptera: Meloidae) is a beetle currently managed for conservation in Sweden. The species inhabits at-risk ephemeral and patchily distributed sandy habitats. However, little is known about its ecology and the factors important for its distribution. We censused 158 discrete sand patches within 31 potential sites for A. bimaculatus and examined which environmental variables predicted the probability of finding the beetle. Apalus bimaculatus was found at 17 sites, its presence at sand-patch scale was positively correlated with sand-patch area, sand temperature, and medium-sized sand grains. Although the beetle is assumed to be a parasite on the solitary bee, Colletes cunicularius (Linnaeus) (Hymenoptera: Colletidae), presence of the bee was a very weak predictor for A. bimaculatus, while other sand-living Hymenoptera were a strong predictor. At site-level scale, the beetle was positively correlated with total amount of sandy habitat and presence of sand-living Hymenoptera. Our study suggests that management strategies for this species should not consider sandy habitats equally. Rather, management efforts should focus on maintaining sites with larger total sandy areas, creating larger sand patches with medium-grained sand and a high degree of sun exposure. We also highlight that biotic interactions between the beetle and sand-living Hymenoptera are still poorly understood but potentially important for successful A. bimaculatus management.

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Canadian Entomologist
2013, Volume: 145, number: 6, pages: 626-638 Publisher: CAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS

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