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Patterns in the distribution, abundance and body size of carabid beetles (Coleoptera: Caraboidea) in relation to dispersal ability

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The effects of dispersal ability, measured as two wing size categories (brachypterous vs. macropterous), on the distribution, abundance and body size, and on the relationships between these variables were examined in eighty-four species of carabid beetles over twenty-two sites in the northern Iberian peninsula. Geographic ranges of species (restricted to the northern Iberian peninsula vs. widespread—European or wider range) were also taken into account in the analyses because macropterous species significantly tended to exhibit wider geographic ranges than did brachypterous species. Regional distributions were wider in brachypterous-restricted and brachypterous-widespread species than in macropterous-widespread species. The three groups did not differ in abundance. Differences in regional distributions between groups may be explained by referring to a trade-off between dispersal ability and establishment ability indicated in the literature. Macropterous species would occupy relatively few sites due to a high frequency of unsuccessful colonizations. The relationships between regional distribution and abundance were positive for all the three groups, brachypterous-restricted, brachypterous-widespread and macropterous-widespread species. The regression line for the last group showed a lower elevation than those for brachypterous-restricted and brachypterous-widespread species. This fact was probably due to differences in regional distributions between groups. No relationship between abundance and body size was significant. Regressions of regional distribution on body size were positive in brachypterous-restricted and brachypterous-widespread carabids, but the relationship was not significant in macropterous-widespread carabids. These results were interpreted in terms of differences in body size–dependency of travelling velocities between flying and running carabids.

Keywords: Abundance; Abundancia; body size; capacidad de dispersión; carabid beetles; carábidos; dispersal ability; distribución geográfica; distribución regional; geographic range; norte de España; northern Spain; regional distribution; tamaño del cuerpo

Document Type: Original Article


Affiliations: Departamento de Biología de Organismos y Sistemas, Unidad de Ecología, Universidad de Oviedo, E-33071 Oviedo, Spain

Publication date: 1997-01-01

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