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The Locomotor Activity of Pterostichus Oblongopuncta Tus F. (Col., Carabidae)

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image of Netherlands Journal of Zoology
For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Animal Biology (Vol 53 and onwards).

The locomotor activity and the walking pattern of Pterostichus oblongopunctatus were studied in the laboratory. Locomotor activity of beetles with radioactive (32P) markings was registered continuously with Geiger-Müller detectors. At low temperatures activity was found to be confined to the dark period. At high temperatures activity was recorded during the light period as well. The daily activity rhythm in the field was simulated using the ambient outdoor temperature and the measured activity in the laboratory at different temperatures at each hour of the day. The trend in the simulations and the field observations is similar: low activity by day on cold days and high activity by day on warm days, especially when the difference between maximum and minimum temperature is high. Locomotor speed and pattern were visually registered in the same experimental setup. Speed was found to be positively correlated with temperature. The distances covered daily in the field were simulated using these measurements and the ambient outdoor temperatures and compared with daily captures in pitfall traps. The relative sizes of pitfall catches were accurately predicted. Dispersal of the beetles in the field was simulated using the estimated distances covered daily and the measured walking pattern in the laboratory. However, this led to an underestimate of distances covered compared to actual distances recorded in the field. It was concluded that the total amount of yearly locomotor activity of Pterostichus oblongopunctatus varies from year to year. The use of yearly captures as a relative measure for density is therefore only justified when the differences in these captures are large. This estimate will be more accurate if the fluctuations in temperature from year to year are taken into account.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Zoological Ecology and Taxonomy State University of Utrecht, Plompetorengracht 9-11, 3512 CA Utrecht, The Netherlands


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