Even the smallest habitat patch matters: on the fauna of peat bogs

Róbert Gallé, Ferenc Samu, Andreea Rebeka Zsigmond, Nikolett Gallé-Szpisjak, István Urák

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Peat bogs are highly endangered and very sensitive habitats in Central Europe. Their high water table, acidity and characteristic climate determine their specialized flora and fauna with numerous rare species. Peat bogs are threatened by soil erosion and nutrient infiltration due to forestry management or grazing. Several small, natural peat bogs exist in the Carpathians, mainly covered with birch and pine forests. Here we assessed the effect of geological location, peat bog size and tree species on the spider fauna. We collected spiders with pitfall traps in eight peat bogs in Eastern Transylvania. We identified several species of high nature conservation value, regarded to be rare in the Central-European fauna. We found higher species richness, abundance and diversity in birch forests than in pine forests. The open canopy of birch forests may allow open habitat specialists to occur in high densities in these forests. Species composition was affected by geological location, indicating that the regional fauna of peat bogs in different mountain ranges are isolated. However, we found no significant effect of habitat area on spider assemblages, the valuable tyrphophilic spider fauna was present even in the smallest peat bog. Peat bog spider fauna requires specific habitat conditions, we suggest that preserving hydrological properties and water quality even in the smallest bogs would conserve the specialized fauna.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)699-705
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Insect Conservation
Volume23
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 15 2019

Keywords

  • Araneae
  • Conservation
  • Habitat island
  • Small habitat patch
  • Species richness
  • Spiders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Insect Science

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