Old forest edges may promote the distribution of forest species in carabid assemblages (Coleoptera: Carabidae) in Croatian forests

Andreja Brigić, Marija Starčević, Boris Hrašovec, Zoltán Elek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)


Boundaries between habitats are usually accompanied by transitions in the diversity and structural complexity of insect assemblages. Edge effects on carabid beetle assemblages across forest-meadow ecotones in Dinaric beech-fir forests were determined in the Gorski Kotar region of western Croatia. Carabid beetles were sampled using pitfall traps set along gradients extending 60 m from the forest edge into its interior and 60 m into the meadow. Embedded forest edges were greater than 100 years old and had a similar composition and structure of vegetation to that in the adjacent forest. A total of 20,526 individuals belonging to 66 carabid beetle species were recorded. Carabid assemblages in the ecotones were more similar to those in the forest interiors than those in the meadows. The classical edge effect hypothesis was not supported, since the ecotones were less diverse than the meadows, while the carabid assemblages of the forest interiors were the least diverse. Soil temperature, soil humidity and light intensity did not differ significantly between the ecotones and the forest interior. Therefore, embedded forest edges reduced the microclimate edge effect by providing stable microclimatic conditions for carabid assemblages similar to those in the forest interior. In addition, this enabled forest specialists and generalists to occur right up to the forest edge and maintain stable populations in the ecotone. On the other hand, ecotones acted as filters for certain forest generalist species and true barriers for most open-habitat species. This study confirmed that the structure and ages of the vegetation at edges may play a key role in determining the spatial pattern of carabid beetles across forest-meadow ecotones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)715-725
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Entomology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Beech-fir forests
  • Carabidae
  • Coleoptera
  • Croatia
  • Ecotone
  • Ground beetles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science

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