Ground Beetle assemblages on Illinois algific slopes: a rare habitat threatened by climate change

Steven J. Taylor, Alan D. Yanahan

Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingTechnical report


Here, we report on a preliminary inventory of ground beetles (Insecta: Coleoptera: Carabidae) conducted inthe Driftless Area by sampling three algific slope sites and three non-­‐algific slope sites. The ground beetles are a fairly diverse family with a variety of degrees of generalist and specialist predators (such as those feeding only on snails) and scavengers, ranging from widely distributed common species found even in agricultural settings, to narrowly endemic species known only from a single site. These beetles in general are easily captured using pitfall traps, making it possible to obtain quantifiable data with relative ease (Julio 2010). Ground beetles are found in a wide variety of habitat types, from prairies to bottomland forests, and from the arctic to the tropics, with unique community assemblages in differing habitats (Lövei and Sunderland 1996, Ribera et al. 2001). Finally, these beetles repeatedly have been shown to be useful bioindicators (Eyre et al. 1996, Rainio and Niemelä 2003) and have already been successfully used in a wide variety of ecological studies (e.g., Stork 1990).We studied ground beetle communities of talus slopes in the Driftless Area in relation to a variety of habitat parameters, 1) to gain an understanding of the diversity of species present at these sites; 2) to associate assemblages of species, or shifts in species assemblages with differences in habitat parameters, especially temperature; and 3) to evaluate ground beetle assemblages associated with colder talus slopes relative to those associated with talus slopes generally lacking properties of algific slopes, in hopes of predicting possible changes in ground beetle assemblages that might be experienced as algific slopes are lost in Illinois due to changing climatic conditions, perhaps identifying species in danger of being extirpated from the state.
Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherIllinois Natural History Survey
StatePublished - Jan 5 2013

Publication series

NameINHS Technical Report 2013 (01)


  • INHS


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