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Taxonomic Diversity of Carabid Beetles in the Agricultural Landscape under Hot Semi-Arid Climate in Mandi Bahauddin, Punjab, Pakistan

PJZ_56_1_323-330

Taxonomic Diversity of Carabid Beetles in the Agricultural Landscape under Hot Semi-Arid Climate in Mandi Bahauddin, Punjab, Pakistan

Mubashar Hussain*, Habiba Razaq, Muhammad Faheem Malik, Kiran Aftab, Jaweria Riaz and Somia Liaqat

Department of Zoology, University of Gujrat, Gujrat, Punjab, Pakistan

ABSTRACT

Ground beetles are recognized as important biological control agents and environmental indicators that inhabit a wide range of habitats. The diversity of carabid beetles in Pakistan has not yet been studied extensively, despite their diversified ecological roles. In the present study, the ground beetle communities from three subdivisions of district Mandi Bahauddin (Phalia, Malakwal and Mandi Bahauddin) were sampled by handpicking and placing pitfall traps from August 2020 to July 2021. A total of 4008 specimens were collected which belonged to 18 species, 11 genera, nine tribes, and five subfamilies. Data were analyzed with Similarities Percentage (SIMPER) analysis and diversity indices were compared among those three croplands. We found that Pheropsophus lissoderus was the most abundant and dominant species in all three study sites whereas Brachinus bilineatus and Galerita lecontei were recorded only in tehsil Phalia, Pheropsophus verticalis, and Dioryche subrecta in Malakwal. Pheropsophus was the most abundant and dominant genus representing six species in all three sites. Overall Shannon index (H:2.545), Simpson index (1-D:0.893), and evenness (e˄H/S: 0.709) indicated relatively greater carabid species richness in district Mandi Bahauddin. Comparative values of indices showed similar patterns of species diversity and evenness i.e. Mandi Bahauddin (1-D = 0.902, e˄H/S = 0.866), followed by Malakwal (1-D = 893, e˄H/S = 0.769), and Phalia (1-D = 0.876, e˄H/S = 0.712). Similarity Percentage analysis by using the Bray-Curtiss dissimilarity matrix showed the highest overall dissimilarity between Malakwal and Mandi Bahauddin (42.68%), followed by Phalia, and Malakwal (28.88%), whereas the least dissimilarity was recorded between Phalia and Mandi Bahauddin (26.53%). We conclude that carabid beetles in district Mandi Bahauddin have relatively greater species richness. The study reports Poecilus versicolor for the first time from Pakistan.


Article Information

Received 10 July 2022

Revised 25 July 2022

Accepted 11 August 2022

Available online 08 November 2022

(early access)

Published 16 December 2023

Authors’ Contribution

MH and HR presented the concept of the study, and performed data collection and identification. HR, JR, SL and KA helped in identification specimen and writing-editing. MFM and MH critically reviewed the manuscript.

Key words

Brachininae, Carabidae, Croplands, Diversity, Mandi Bahauddin

DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.17582/journal.pjz/20220710070739

* Corresponding author: dr.mubashar@uog.edu.pk

0030-9923/2024/0001-0323 $ 9.00/0

Copyright 2024 by the authors. Licensee Zoological Society of Pakistan.

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).



Introduction

The ground beetles (Carabidae: Coleoptera) also called carabid beetles represent approximately 40,000 described species (Riddick and Capinera, 2008) that inhabit almost all terrestrial habitats, especially in agroecosystems (Della Rocca et al., 2021). Carabid beetles consume several agricultural pests and weeds (De Heij and Willenborg, 2020), and their diversity in agroecosystems is mainly related to the microclimate rather than crop type (Reich et al., 2020). Ground beetles are key species in agricultural landscapes contributing significantly to the ecosystem as natural enemies of many pest species (Piotrowska et al., 2020).

Several beneficial insect species have shown a decline in the population due to agricultural intensification (Forister et al., 2016; Raven and Wagner, 2021; van der Sluijs, 2020; Wepprich et al., 2019). Agricultural intensification (Rusch et al., 2016), climate change (Brandmayr and Pizzolotto, 2016), and habitat fragmentation (Niemelä, 2001) affect carbid diversity. Landscape assessments and consequently re-establishment of semi-natural habitats contribute significantly to detecting and minimizing biodiversity losses, which will be beneficial to agricultural production (Raven and Wagner, 2021; Wang et al., 2021). Extensive works at global, regional and local assessment of carabid beetles assemblages have been made to explore taxonomic diversity in different agroecosystems (Rischen et al., 2021; Rouabah et al., 2015; Zajicek et al., 2021; Zou et al., 2015). The carabid fauna has not been explored from different agricultural zones of Pakistan though some work on diversity were reported from different parts of Pakistan (Hussain et al., 2021). Some research work on the distribution and diversity of species was conducted in different parts of the country i.e. carabid fauna segregated from the fauna of British India (Kazi et al., 2016), district Haripur (Bibi and Rehman, 2020), checklist of ground beetles (Azadbakhsh and Rafi, 2017), Mekran Division (Khatri et al., 2016), Mansehra Division (Mishkatullah, 2018), ecological zones of Sukkur (Soomro et al., 2021), and upper Sindh plains (Sahito et al., 2021). In Mandi Bahauddin, being an agricultural district, baseline data on the carabid diversity has not been explored yet. The composition and density of carabid taxa vary according to environmental conditions like temperature and rainfall, edaphic factors, and the communities. This asserts the assessment of carabid communities at local levels which would be helpful in the analysis of species diversity to evaluate the impact of environment within the habitat concerned. The objective of this study is to explore the community patterns of carabid beetles in the agricultural landscape of district Mandi Bahauddin.

Materials and Methods

Study area

Mandi Bahauddin (32.4105° N, 73.3709° E; 220 m asl) is located in the province of Punjab, Pakistan. It has three subdivisions (Tehsils) i.e. Mandi Bahauddin, Phalia and Malakwal. The district has predominantly agricultural economy. The district is located between two major rivers Jhelum and Chenab and is commonly known as Chajjdoab. Mostly irrigated through Lower Jhelum Canal and partly through Upper Jhelum Canal. The climate of this district is classified as BSh (hot semi-arid climate) by the Koppen-Geiger system (Ranjha et al., 2018). The climate of the district is moderate, hot during summer, and cold during winter. The highest temperature in summer may rise to 48 °C and may fall below 3 °C in winter. Generally, weather reverberates with Islamabad with an average rainfall of 388 millimeters. Most of the land near this town is arable and residents are involved in agriculture. Wheat (Triticum aestivum), rice (Oryza sativa), sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum), corn (Zea mays) and potato (Solanum tuberosum) are commonly cultivated crops. Wild plants include bhakra (Tribulus terrestris), khabal (Cynodon dactylon), baer (Ziziphus jujuba), pipal (Ficus religiosa), kala toot (Morus nigra), Dherak (Melia azedarach) and chibbar (Cucumis melo var. agrestis) (Nisar et al., 2011).

Collection of specimens

Adult carabid beetles were collected fortnightly from August 2020 to July 2021 by hand picking and pitfall traps. Three transects of 500 m length were placed for data collection. Ten pitfall traps were built at 150 m distance along transects in all locations (Andrade et al., 2011; Larsen and Forsyth, 2005). Plastic flasks were used to prepare the pitfall traps and then burrowed into the soil with their edge leveled with soil surface. Vinegar was used as an attractant in pitfall traps and traps were emptied after 72 h (Steward et al., 2017).

Identification of specimens

The morphological characters of preserved samples were identified under dissecting microscope, using available taxonomic identification keys, pictorial keys and online resources (Abdullah and Azmir, 2021; Choate, 2001; Klimaszewski and Watt, 1997).

Statistical analysis

Species richness measures biodiversity by taking into account the number of species in a given area. Margalef’s diversity index and Menhinick’s diversity indices report species richness whereas Richness–Evenness indices like Shannon–Wiener diversity index, Brillouin index, Fisher’s alpha, Pielou index, and Simpson’s index (Hussain et al., 2021; Magurran, 2004). We calculated ecological indicator these indices for measuring species diversity by using PAST3 software (Kumar et al., 2022). We also performed similarity of percentages analysis (SIMPER) to identify the species which were contributing the most to differences in communities spatiotemporially (Umar et al., 2022).

Results

Species composition

In our study, 4008 ground beetle individuals were collected, belonging to 11 genera and 18 species and representing five subfamilies, nine tribes. Brachininae (7 species) and Harpalinae (6 species) were two most dominant subfamilies. Genus Pheropsophus (6 species) was dominant genus in the study area (Table I). We considered all those species dominant comprising over 5% were considered dominant species whereas those who showed at least 1% abundance were designated as common species in a given habitat. P. lissoderus, C. auropunctatum, C. herbacea, C. platicollis, P. versicolor, S. quinquepustulatus, P. africanus, P. catoirei, P. h. hilaris and S. quadriceps were dominant species in tehsil Mandibahuddin. Five species were amongst dominant species in Malkwal tehsil (P. africanus, P. catoirei, P. lissoderus, P. versicolor, and S. quinquepustulatus). In Phalia, six species occurred with greater than 5 % abundance (P. africanus, P. catoirei, P. lissoderus, Chlaenius pictus, P. versicolor, and S. quinquepustulatus) and these were designated as dominant species in this habitat.

 

Table I. Relative abundance (%) of carabid beeles (Carabidae: Coleoptera) in different tehsils of district Mandi Bahauddin.

Subfamilies/ Tribe/ Species

Relative abundance (%)

Phalia

Malakwal

Mandi Bahauddin

Subfamily: Brachininae

Tribe: Brachinini

Brachinus bilineatus

2.48

--

--

Pheropsophus africanus

8.01

6.25

6.70

P. catoirei

12.98

14.63

9.86

P. hilaris hilaris

4.81

3.05

5.69

P. hilaris sobrinus

3.61

2.44

3.79

P. lissoderus

27.64

23.46

21.24

P. verticalis

--

4.62

--

Subfamily: Carabinae

Tribe: Carabini

Calosoma auropunctatum

3.85

4.88

5.31

C. inquisitor

2.40

4.88

3.03

Subfamily: Cicindelinae

Tribe: Cicindelini

Cicindela herbacea

3.37

4.27

5.31

Subfamily: Harpalinae

Tribe: Chlaeniini

Chlaenius pictus

9.13

3.81

4.93

Tribe: Lebiini

Cymindis platicollis

3.85

5.18

6.83

Tribe: Harpalini

Dioryche subrecta

--

2.13

--

Tribe: Pterostichini

Galerita lecontei veracrusis

2.72

--

--

Tribe: Harpalini

Poecilius versicolor

5.53

8.08

7.59

Stenolophus quinquepustulatus

5.29

6.40

8.34

Subfamily: Scaritinae

Tribe: Scaritini

Scarites quadriceps

2.40

3.35

7.96

Scarites subterraneus

1.92

2.59

3.41

 

Relative abundance

Pheropsophus lissoderus (24.33%) was the most abundant species followed by Pheropsophus catoirei (13.17%), Poecilus Versicolor (7.19%) and Pheropsophus africanus (6.89%) whereas the least relative abundance was recorded for Galerita lecontei (0.85%), and Brachinus bilineatus (0.77%) (Fig. 1).

 

Community diversity

Species richness and the abundance was the highest in Malkwal (16 species and 1969 specimens), followed by Phalia (16 species and 1248 specimens), and Mandi Bahauddin (14 species and 791 specimens). The diversity indices show that maximum diversity has been recorded from Phalia (D = 0.125) followed by Malakwal (D = 0.108) and Mandi Bahauddin (D = 0.098). Shannon (H) index points to that the highest richness of ground beetles was present in Malakwal (2.51) followed by Mandi Bahauddin (2.5) and Phalia (2.4). Highest evenness was observed at Mandi Bahauddin (e^H/S = 0.87) followed by Malakwal (e^H/S = 0.77) and Phalia (e^H/S = 0.72). Similar trend in the values of the other indices were observed (Table II).

 

Table II. Diversity indices calculated for three subdivisions of district Mandi Bahauddin from August 2020 to July 2021.

Phalia

Malakwal

Mandi Bahauddin

Overall

Taxa_S

16

16

14

18

Individuals

1248

1969

791

4008

Dominance_D

0.125

0.108

0.098

0.107

Simpson_1-D

0.876

0.893

0.902

0.893

Shannon_H

2.433

2.510

2.495

2.545

Evenness_e^H/S

0.712

0.769

0.866

0.709

Brillouin

2.400

2.486

2.449

2.531

Menhinick

0.453

0.361

0.498

0.284

Margalef

2.104

1.978

1.948

2.049

Equitability_J

0.877

0.905

0.945

0.881

Fisher_alpha

2.589

2.381

2.416

2.429

Berger-Parker

0.276

0.235

0.212

0.243

 

Table III. Main species contributing to dissimilarities among three site communities.

Species

Overall dissimilarity

Mean abundance

Mean

abundance

Mean dissimilarity

Contribution

Cumulative

Phalia

Malakwal

Pheropsophus catoirei

28.88%

162

288

3.917

162

288

P. lissoderus

345

462

3.637

345

462

P. verticalis

0

91

2.829

0

91

Poecilius versicolor

69

159

2.798

69

159

Calasoma inquisitor

30

96

2.052

30

96

Calasoma auropunctatum

48

96

1.492

48

96

Stenoloplius quinquepustulatus

66

126

1.865

66

126

Cymindis platicollis

48

102

1.679

48

102

Dioryche subrecta

0

42

1.306

0

42

Cicindela herbacea

42

84

1.306

42

84

Phalia

Mandi Bahauddin

Pheropsophus lissoderus

26.53%

345

168

8.681

32.72

32.72

P. catoirei

162

78

4.12

15.53

48.24

P. africanus

100

53

2.305

8.688

70.79

Chlaenius pictus

114

39

3.678

13.86

62.11

G. lecontei veracrusis

34

0

1.667

6.285

77.08

Scarites quadriceps

30

63

1.618

6.1

83.18

Brachinus bilineatus

31

0

1.52

5.73

88.91

P. hilaris sobrinus

45

30

0.7357

2.773

91.68

P. hilaris hilaris

60

45

0.7357

2.773

94.45

Poecilius versicolor

69

60

0.4414

1.664

96.12

Malakwal

Mandi Bahauddin

P. lissoderus

42.68%

462

168

10.65

24.96

24.96

Pheropsophus catoirei

288

78

7.609

17.83

42.78

Poecilius versicolor

159

60

3.587

8.404

51.19

Pheropsophus verticalis

91

0

3.297

7.725

58.91

Calasoma inquisitor

96

24

2.609

6.112

65.03

Pheropsophus africanus

123

53

2.536

5.942

70.97

S. quinquepustulatus

126

66

2.174

5.093

76.06

Calasoma auropunctatum

96

42

1.957

4.584

80.65

Cymindis platicollis

102

54

1.739

4.075

84.72

Cicindela herbacea

84

42

1.522

3.565

88.29

 

Community contributions

SIMPER analysis showed that the overall dissimilarity between Phalia and Mandi Bahauddin is (26.53%). Pheropsophus lissoderus (8.681 %), Pheropsophus catoirei (4.12 %), Chlaenius pictus (3.678%), Pheropsophus africanus (2.31 %) showed maximum contribution in average dissimilarity between Phalia and Mandi Bahauddin. Pheropsophus verticalis, Stenolophus quinquepustulatus, Cicindela herbacea, and Dioryche subrecta showed no contribution in dissimilarity between Phalia and Mandi Bahauddin (Table III).

The overall dissimilarity between Malakwal and Mandi Bahauddin is 42.62%. Pheropsophus lissoderus (10.65 %), Pheropsophus catoirei (7.60 %), Poecilius versicolor (3.58 %), Pheropsophus verticalis (3.29 %), Calasoma inquisitor (2.60 %), Pheropsophus africanus (2.54 %), Stenolophus quinquepustulatus (2.17 %) show maximum contribution in dissimilarity between Malakwal and Mandi Bahauddin. There is no contribution of Brachinus bilineatus and Galerita lecontei veracrusis in average dissimilarity among Malakwal and Mandi Bahauddin. An overall dissimilarity of 28.88% was observed between Phalia and Malakwal. Pheropsophus catoirei (3.92 %), Pheropsophus lissoderus (3.64 %), Pheropsophus verticalis (2.83 %), Poecilius versicolor (2.8 %), Calasoma inquisitor (2.05 %) show maximum contribution in dissimilarity between Phalia and Malakwal. On the other hand, Pheropsophus hilaris hilaris showed no contribution in dissimilarity between Phalia and Malakwal (Table III).

Discussion

In this study, 4008 carabid beetles belonging to 11 genera and 16 species were collected, which is comparable to the species recorded in Sukkur (05 species) (Soomro et al., 2021), Haripur (03 genera and 05 species) (Bibi and Rehman, 2020), and Chakwal (21 species and 11 genera; (Mishkatullah, 2018). We recorded 14 species common in all three subdivisions with Pheropsophus lissoderus was most abundant in all three locations. Phalia and Mandi Bahauddin tehsils have extended suburbs with sugarcane, rice and wheat as major crops.

Pheropsophus lissoderus (24.33%) was the most abundant species followed by Pheropsophus catoirei (13.17%) and Poecilus versicolor (7.19%). In Malakwal, we observed only five species which were dominant ≥ 5 % abundance as compared to six in Phalia and ten in Mandi Bahauddin. Agroecosystems are expected to harbor decreased number of ground beetles because of their sensitivity habitat modification and agricultural practices (Rischen et al., 2022). Ground beetle assemblages have shown associations with broad habitat types (Niemelä et al., 1992) and individual ground beetle species affect community structure (Clark et al., 1997). Malakwal showed the higher values of indices (Shannon index: 2.51; Brillouin: 2.486) which may be owed to less anthropogenic disturbance (except for agricultural practices) as compared to Phalia and Mandi Bahauddin. Malakwal, Phalia and Mandi Bahauddin being an agricultural lands with dominant vegetation includes citrus fruits, wheat, sugarcane and rice (Hussain et al., 2020).

In our study area, habitat type at local scale was either crops or field margins surrounded with tree plantation or interspersed citrus plants in all study sites. This has provided favorable microenvironment for the ubiquitous species to be distributed equally in all three sites. Higher diversity was recorded in the heterogeneous habitat which provides diverse niches and more means for resources utilization as compared to homogenous habitat (Liu et al., 2015). However, earlier reported that the isolation from the herbaceous habitats increase carabid species richness and abundance (Uzman et al., 2020). Ground beetles have shown non-significant difference in diversity between forest and agricultural fields (Avgın, 2006).

Predatory ground beetles have limited food options in agricultural landscapes, therefore, track resources around field margins. Ground beetles with a predatory life style were found in greater proportion the crop fields as compared to the grasslands (Hanson et al., 2016). Phytophagous ground beetles are directly affected by the disruption of agricultural landscapes and vegetation (Bommarco, 1998). All these factors contribute to the lower diversity at Mandi Bahauddin which is characterized by more habitat disruption as compared to Phalia and Malakwal where more land is arable and vegetation cover is dense.

Conclusion

In conclusion, our results show that ground beetle assemblages in the district Mandi Bahauddin have relatively greater diversity and abundance compared to number of species and their abundance reported from other districts of Pakistan. These results imply that predator-prey relationship have existed in these croplands which suggested that these generalist predator communities. Our results suggest that ground beetle fauna in Mandi Bahauddin could serve as natural biological control agents. Our study reported Poecilus versicolor for the first time from Pakistan.

IBR approval

This study was approved by the Ethical Committee of the University of Gujrat.

Funding

There is no funding available for this research.

Ethical statement

All efforts were taken to minimize pain and discomfort to the animal while conducting this research according to the ethical protocol of the University of Gujrat.

Statement of conflict of interest

The authors have declared no conflict of interest.

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Pakistan Journal of Zoology

February

Pakistan J. Zool., Vol. 56, Iss. 1, pp. 01-501

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