The role of small woodland remnants on ground dwelling insect conservation in Chaco Serrano, Central Argentina

María Laura Moreno1,2a*, María Guadalupe Fernández1b, Silvia Itati Molina1c, Graciela Valladares1,2d*

1Centro de Investigaciones Entomológicas de Córdoba, F.C.E.F. y N., Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Av. Vélez Sarsfield 266 (X5016GCA), Córdoba, Argentina
2Instituto Multidisciplinario de Biología Vegetal (CONICET-Universidad Nacional de Córdoba), Av. Vélez Sarsfield 1611-(X5016GCA), Córdoba, Argentina


Many terrestrial ecosystems are changing due to extensive land use and habitat fragmentation, posing a major threat to biodiversity. In this study, the effects of patch size, isolation, and edge/interior localization on the ground dwelling insect communities in the Chaco Serrano woodland remnants in central Argentina were examined. Sampling was carried out in December 2003 and March 2004 in nine remnants (0.57 to 1000 hectares) using pitfall traps. In total, 7071 individuals representing 12 orders and 79 families were recorded. The taxonomic composition of these communities was linked to remnant size. Insect abundance increased (as did their richness, albeit marginally) as remnant area decreased, with no significant effects of isolation or edge/interior localization on abundance, richness, or diversity. No differential area effects were observed when abundance and richness of predators, scavengers, and herbivores were compared. Thus, ground insect communities in fragmented Chaco Serrano seem to respond mainly to patch level, rather than to within-patch (edge effects) or landscape (isolation) level variables. These results suggest that small Chaco Serrano remnants, by supporting larger ground-dwelling insect assemblages, may play an important role from a conservation viewpoint.

Keywords: epigaeic insects, feeding guilds, habitat fragmentation, subtropical forest

Correspondence: a, b, c, d, *Corresponding author

Editor: Inon Scharf was editor of this paper.

Received: 29 December 2011 | Accepted: 18 August 2012 | Published: 13 May 2013

ISSN: 1536-2442 | Volume 13, Number 40

Moreno ML, Fernández MG, Molina SI, Valladares G. 2013. The role of small woodland remnants on ground dwelling insect conservation in Chaco Serrano, Central Argentina. Journal of Insect Science 13:40. Available online:

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