Generally, pitfall trap data indicated that darkling beetles significantly preferred unmowed areas to mowed areas, while crickets showed no preference.
Eleodes extricata is a widespread, grassland darkling beetle (W.
To this end, I investigated habitat use by the darkling beetle Eleodes hispilabris (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) at two spatial scales (a broad habitat scale of square kilometers and a fine microhabitat scale o.f square centimeters) to determine whether habitat use by this species is nonrandom at multiple scales and, if so, what habitat preferences were exhibited.
Detailed information on darkling beetle natural history may be found in Allsopp (1980), Whicker and Tracy (1987) and Rogers et al.
This broad-scale pattern of habitat selection reflects microhabitat preferences, as shrub floodplains possessed relatively more vegetative detritus (a darkling beetle food source; Yount, 1971; Rogers et al., 1988; [ILLUSTRATION FOR FIGURE 1 OMITTED]), possibly because shrubs produce as well as accumulate wind-blown vegetative detritus.
Buffalograss is a natural component of the darkling beetles' grassland environment (Lauenroth and Milchunas 1991) and provides food and shelter that bare sand areas do not.
(1997) showed that movement patterns of darkling beetles did not change significantly as grass coverage increased from 20% to 80%, but differed strongly when no grass was present (100% sand).
A 99% CI around this measure provided a way for us to compare the grass-patch sizes we used in our treatments to a more natural situation faced by darkling beetles.
Movement trials were conducted when unshaded soil surface temperatures were 18 [degrees]-29 [degrees] C (mean 22 [degrees] C), which corresponds to temperatures when darkling beetles are active at the CPER (Whicker and Tracy 1987).
Finally, how do species-specific differences in habitat affinities and activity patterns influence community structure of darkling beetles in areas of shortgrass prairie with different vegetation and substrate characteristics?
- The total number of darkling beetles captured differed between seasons and among sites and microhabitats (SEAS, SITE, and MHAB main effects and YEAR covariate, P [less than] 0.0004).
This study was specifically designed to determine the microhabitat affinities of darkling beetles, but the frequency of captures of different beetle species over the 3-yr study period allowed me to examine differences in the relative abundances and species composition of darkling beetles among areas of shortgrass prairie that differed in shrub cover and soil type.