Overwintering of ladybirds (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) on Scots pine in Central Europe

Holecova, Milada; Zach, Peter; Holla, Katarina; Sebestova, Miroslava; Klesniakova, Maria; Sestakova, Anna; Honek, Alois; Nedved, Oldrich; Parak, Michal; Martinkova, Zdenka; Holec, Juraj; Viglasova, Sandra; Brown, Peter M.J.; Roy, Helen E.; Kilfan, Jan. 2018 Overwintering of ladybirds (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) on Scots pine in Central Europe. European Journal of Entomology, 115. 658-667.

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We surveyed ladybirds (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) in 10 stands of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris), all monoculture stands 5-100 years old, in western Slovakia, Central Europe, over two successive periods, October 2013 - March 2014 and October 2014 - March 2015. The winter in each period was exceptionally mild. Ladybirds were collected from the lower branches of pine trees using beating trays and were present in 61% of the 1040 samples (one sample containing ladybirds from 20 branches, 1 m long each). In total 3965 individuals of 20 species were recorded. Non-conifer dwelling species associated with broadleaved trees or herbaceous plants prevailed (45% of species), followed by conifer specialists (40%) and generalists (15%). Although 13 species were found at least in one winter month, December, January or February, only four of them, Exochomus quadripustulatus, Coccinella septempunctata, Harmonia axyridis and Hippodamia variegata, were recorded continually during both winters. The number of species, the abundance of all ladybirds and the abundance of dominant species (E. quadripustulatus, C. septempunctata and H. axyridis) decreased from late autumn towards winter and remained lowest during this most adverse time of the year for ladybirds. Overwintering species assemblages of ladybirds changed over time and varied with age of pine stand. Our results suggest that Scots pine in Central Europe supports species rich assemblages of ladybirds from late autumn to early spring and, being widely distributed, it could be suited to winter surveying of ladybirds at large spatial scales to reveal behavioural and ecological responses of species to changing weather or different climates.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Biodiversity (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 1210-5759
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: Coleoptera, Coccinellidae, ladybirds, Pinus sylvestris, diapause, overwintering, temporal changes, Central Europe
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 08 Feb 2019 11:28 +0 (UTC)

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