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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Systematic Entomology Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #402883

Research Project: Systematics of Beetles, Flies, Moths and Wasps with an Emphasis on Agricultural Pests, Invasive Species, Biological Control Agents, and Food Security

Location: Systematic Entomology Laboratory

Title: Moss-inhabiting beetles of the West Indies (Insecta: Coleoptera)

item Konstantinov, Alexander - Alex
item BASELGA, A. - University Of Santiago
item ANDERSON, ROBERT - Canadian Museum Of Nature
item CARLTON, CHRISTOPHER - Louisana State University
item GUSAROV, VLADIMIR - University Of Oslo
item IVIE, MICHAEL - Montana State University
item OWENS, BRITTANY - Louisiana State University
item Sokolov, Igor
item TISHECKIN, ALEXEY - California Department Of Food And Agriculture

Submitted to: Journal of Insect Biodiversity
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/11/2023
Publication Date: 5/9/2023
Citation: Konstantinov, A.S., Baselga, A., Anderson, R.S., Carlton, C., Gusarov, V., Ivie, M.A., Owens, B., Sokolov, I.M., Tisheckin, A. 2023. Moss-inhabiting beetles of the West Indies (Insecta: Coleoptera). Journal of Insect Biodiversity. 38(2):48-72.

Interpretive Summary: Beetles are among the most important insects for U.S. agriculture. Many are serious pests and feed on crops destroying valuable plants costing millions of dollars annually. Others are important biological control agents that can be used to control unwanted and invasive weeds. This work results from 16 years of beetle explorations in the West Indies and documents a diversity of beetles in moss cushions of the archipelago. In total 1711 adult beetles were collected. They belong to 234 species from 30 families. Beetle assemblages on different kind of moss are discussed as well as their food specialization, morphological traits and patterns of distribution. Representatives of most beetle families that occur in mosses are illustrated. The study will be useful to evolutionary biologists, biogeographers, ecologists, and anyone interested in diversity of beetles.

Technical Abstract: This study is the first attempt to assess the diversity of beetles (Coleoptera) in terrestrial moss cushions on three West Indian islands: Hispaniola, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico based on 10 years of moss sampling in 18 localities. In total 1711 adult beetles were collected. They belong to 234 species from 30 families. The most species and specimen rich families are Staphylinidae (86 morphospecies and 1195 specimens), Curculionidae (61 and 131 respectively), and Chrysomelidae (16 and 185). Moss cushions host a diverse fauna of mycophagous and saprophagous coleopterans together with predaceous species of beetles besides basic bryobionts feeding on moss tissues. Our results suggest that community composition in moss inhabiting beetles is determined both by geographical isolation processes and, to a lesser degree, by environmental variation across altitudinal gradients. This confirms that the greater relevance of geographical isolation is a common pattern in organisms with limited dispersal ability. Beetle abundance was not significantly related to either the volume of moss or the substrate. Despite being not significant (but close to), the observed trend was to higher beetle abundance in moss cushions collected on trees than in those collected on soil/rock. This may be resulting from the greater diversity of fungi and higher number of beetle fungivores associated with tree growing moss communities.