A comparison of two sampling methods for surveying mammalian herbivore impacts on beetle communities in the canopy of Acacia drepanolobium in Kenya

Publication Type:Journal Article
Authors:S. K. Kuria, Villet, M. H., Palmer, T. M., Stanton, M. L.
Journal:African Entomology
Date Published:Mar

Even though several methods are used to sample and monitor canopy arthropods, there are no studies to indicate which of these methods is more effective. We compared the efficacy of the beating and canopy fogging methods in collecting beetles that inhabit Acacia drepanolobium (Harms) tree canopies at Mpala Research Centre in Laikipia district, Kenya. These trees grow naturally on the black cotton soils of the Laikipia ecosystem, accounting for more than 98 % of the overstorey at the study site, and are important for local cattle and wildlife production. The ultimate objective of this study was to determine the effect of differential grazing and browsing pressure from large mammalian herbivores on the beetle communities of A. drepanolobium. Seven hundred and twenty trees 1.0-2.5 m tall were sampled using each method, making a total of 1440 trees. Sampling using the two methods was done concurrently and repeated quarterly over a period of 14 months. In total, 4320 individuals were collected, 1456 by beating and 2864 by fogging. The methods jointly yielded beetle specimens from 13 families and 55 morphospecies. Fogging collected significantly more beetle morphospecies than beating, and there was a significant interaction effect between method and sampling date. We found that numerically Anthicidae and Curculionidae responded positively to the presence of cattle. We also found that Anthicidae Spa. A and Myllocerus sp. A numbers significantly increased in plots where livestock were grazed.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith