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The influence of landscape alterations on changes in ground beetle (Carabidae) and spider (Araneae) functional groups between 1995 and 2013 in an urban fringe of China

Duan, Meichun, Hu, Wenhao, Liu, Yunhui, Yu, Zhenrong, Li, Xiang, Wu, Panlong, Zhang, Feng, Shi, Hongliang, Baudry, Jacques
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.689 pp. 516-525
Araneae, Carabidae, abandoned land, agricultural land, body size, farmers, grasses, grasslands, land use change, landscapes, moieties, omnivores, rural areas, species richness, urbanization, China
Urbanization is one of the main causes of land use change, especially from 1990 to now in China, but knowledge of its effect on different functional groups of carabids and spiders in the adjacent rural areas over time remains limited. We assessed whether landscape alterations (1993 versus 2013) drove changes in carabid and spider functional groups (1995 versus 2013) in an agricultural landscape located on the fringe of a rapidly growing city in China. Although built-up land increased from 6.3% to 32% across the whole landscape, the overall species richness of carabids and spiders did not decline. In contrast to the reduction in species richness of large carabids, the species richness of small carabids increased. Species richness of both large and small spiders increased. The species composition of carabids and spiders significantly changed between 1995 and 2013. Species compositions of large, predatory carabids and large or ground-hunting spiders were more sensitive to the changes in built-up land than those of small, omnivorous carabids and small or web-building spiders. The amount of grassland (abandoned land covered by wild grass) also increased as farmers began to work in the city. The increased grassland significantly contributed to the increased species richness of predatory and macropterous carabids. However, increased landscape diversity did not affect species richness of either carabids or spiders. High landscape diversity was related to reduction in field size, resulting in a decrease in the mean body size of carabids. This indicates that evaluating the effect of landscape change on carabid and spider diversity should be based on their functional traits. Different taxa, even different functional groups, have different responses to landscape change. The increase in built-up land did not immediately reduce species richness at the urban fringe. Increasing wild grasslands and combining smaller fields may benefit farmland biodiversity in this region.