Small Islands, Small Ponds, Small Communities—Water Beetles and Water Boatmen in the Faroe Islands

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Abstract

Water beetles of the families Dytiscidae and Haliplidae (Coleoptera) as well as water boatmen (Heteroptera: Corixidae) are well-studied groups in Northern Europe. In the Faroe Islands, their diversity is much lower than in the British Isles and Fennoscandia. Here, we first describe the communities of water beetles and water boatmen in Faroese ponds and, secondly, assess whether community compositions are driven by habitat characteristics or dispersal abilities of species. To this end, we sampled 57 ponds, ranging between <50 m2 and >50,000 m2. Environmental variables such as pond size, temperature, pH, and depth were measured, and distance to nearest neighboring pond was calculated as a measure of isolation. The sampling yielded 1522 individuals of eight species, with species richness of the ponds ranging between zero and six. Pond size (shoreline length) did explain differences in community composition, whereas water depth explained differences in diversity indices with lower diversity in deeper ponds. We found species-specific relations between abundance and shoreline length, e.g., H. fulvus and H. palustris being restricted to larger ponds. Lastly,
water beetle and water boatmen communities in Faroese ponds are discussed in the light of island biogeography and species distributions in the North Atlantic islands.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInsects
Volume13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Oct 2022

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