Structure of the epigeic beetle community in a suburban hilly area in Northern Italy
Abstract: The research has been developed in a hilly area in Northern Italy characterized by different semi-natural habitats. The proximity to crowded and industrialized cities causes it to be vulnerable. We studied the community structure of beetle pedofauna from April to September from 2010 to 2012 in two localities, where five and two sites were selected, representing both woodland and meadow. Two sampling plots, each with five pitfall traps that were replaced fortnightly were located at each site. A total of 7,672 specimens belonging to 14 families were obtained. Staphylinidae appeared to be the richest family covering more than 77% of total captures, followed by Carabidae, Silphidae and Curculionidae. These four families pooled together covered more than 98% of all the specimens collected. The analysis of the variability distribution estimated the components of variations among the considered spatial scales, showed a biodiversity locally high as the plot size well reflected the homogeneity of the structure of the chosen habitats. The limited variability suggested that community composition changed gradually, reflecting a relative homogeneus area without large differences within the habitats of the research areas.