Beetles in the city: Ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) in Coquitlam, BC as indicators of human disturbance

Robert McGregor, Veronica Wahl


Urban development may cause adverse effects on the ecological integrity of natural areas in cities through habitat loss and fragmentation.  Biological communities in habitat fragments may be altered which may, in turn, negatively impact ecosystem services that contribute to the sustainability of urban areas.  As such, methods are required to assess anthropogenic impacts on urban habitats. Here, results are presented of ground beetle (Coleoptera: Carabidae) monitoring in habitat fragments in Coquitlam,BC.  Ground beetle diversity in Coquitlam is highest in small, disturbed sites which include both native and introduced European species.  Several European carabid species are effective biological indicators of anthropogenic disturbance in urban habitat fragments.  Because of the relative ease of collection and identification of carabids, monitoring of carabids by citizen scientists can be used to assess human impacts on urban ecosystems.


Ground beetles, Carabidae, biological indicators, urban ecology, insect conservation

Full Text:



Angold, P.G. et al (2006) Biodiversity in urban habitat patches. Science of the Total Environment 360: 196-204.

Bellard, C, C. Bertelsmeier, P. Leadley, W. Thuiller & F. Courchamp (2012) Impacts of climate change on the future of biodiversity. Ecology Letters 15: 365-377.

Bland, R.G. & H.E. Jaques (1978) How to know the insects, 3rd edition. W.C. Brown Company, Dubuque, Iowa.

Bergeron, J.A.C., J.R. Spence & W.J.A. Volney (2011) Landscape patterns of species-level associations between ground-beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) and overstorey trees in boreal forests of western Canada. ZooKeys 147: 577-600.

Crall, A.W., G.J. Newman, C.S. Jarnevich, T.J. Stohlgren, D.M.Waller & J. Graham (2010) Improving and integrating data on invasive species collected by citizen scientists. Biological Invasions 12: 3419-3428.

Da, L.J. & Y.C. Song (2008) The construction of near-natural forests in the urban areas of Shanghai. pp. 420-432 in M.M. Carreiro, Y.C. Song & J. Wu (Eds.) Ecology, planning and management of urban forests: International perspectives. Springer.

Dufrêne, M. & P. Legendre (1997) Species assemblages and indicator species definition: the need of an asymmetrical and flexible approach. Ecological Monographs 67: 345-366.

Fahrig, L. (2003) Effects of habitat fragmentation on biodiversity. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 2003. 34:487–515.

Flores, A., S.T.A. Pickett, W.C. Zipperer, R.V. Pouyat & R. Pirani (1998) Adopting a modern ecological view of the metropolitan landscape: the case of a greenspace system for the New York City region. Landscape and Urban Planning 39: 295–308.

Fusser, M.S., J.M. Holland, P. Jeanneret, S.C. Pfister, M.H. Entling & J. Schirmel (2018) Interactive effects of local and landscape factors on farmland carabids. Agricultural and Forest Entomology 20: 549-557.

Gibb, H. & D.F. Hochuli (2002) Habitat fragmentation in an urban environment: large and small fragments support different arthropod assemblages. Biological conservation 106: 91–100.

Grimm, N.B. et al (2008) Global change and the ecology of cities. Science 319: 756-760.

Hartley, D.J. et al (2007) Effects of urbanization on ground beetle assemblages (Coleoptera, Carabidae) of grassland habitats in western Canada. Ecography 30: 673-684.

Koivula, M.J. (2011) Useful model organisms, indicators, or both? Ground beetles (Coleoptera, Carabidae) reflecting environmental conditions. ZooKeys 100: 287–317.

Latty, E.F. et al (2005) Response of ground beetle (Carabidae) assemblages to logging history in northern hardwood–hemlock forests. Forest Ecology & Management 222: 335-347.

Lemieux, J.P. & B.S. Lindgren (2004) Ground beetle responses to patch retention harvesting in high elevation forests of British Columbia. Ecography 27: 557-566.

Li, J., Y. Wang & Y.C. Song (2008) Landscape coridors in Shanghai an their importance in urban forest planning. pp. 219-239 in M.M. Carreiro, Y.C. Song & J. Wu (Eds.) Ecology, planning and management of urban forests: International perspectives. Springer.

Lindroth, C.H., 1961, 1963, 1966, 1968, 1969a, 1969b. The ground-beetles (Carabidae, excl. Cicindelinae) of Canada and Alaska, Part 2. Opusc. Entomol. Suppl. 20: 1-200; 24: 201-408; 29: 409-648; 33: 649-944; 34: 945-1192; 35: I-XLVIII.

Magura, T. et al (2004) Changes in carabid beetle assemblages along an urbanisation gradient in the city of Debrecen, Hungary. Landscape Ecology 19: 747-759.

Marshall, S.A. (2018) Beetles: The natural history and diversity of Coleoptera. Firefly Books.

MacIvor, J.S. & J. Lundholm (2010) Insect species composition and diversity on intensive green roofs and adjacent level-ground habitats. Urban Ecosystems 14: 225-241.

McCune, B. & J.B. Grace (2002) Analysis of ecological communities. MjM Software Design, Gleneden Beach, Oregon.

Montserrat, V. et al (2010) How well do we understand the impacts of alien species on ecosystem services? A pan-European, cross-taxa assessment. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 8: 135-144.

Pierce, J.L. & L.A. Venier (2006) The use of ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) and spiders (Aranae) as bioindicators of sustainable forest management: a review. Ecological Indicators 6: 780-793.

Prasad, R.P. & W.E. Snyder (2006) Polyphagy complicates conservation biological control that targets generalist predators. Journal of Applied Ecology 43: 343-352.

Rainio, J. & J. Niemela (2003) Ground beetles as bioindicators. Biodiversity and Conservation 12: 487-506.

Ranganathan, J. et al (2008) Ecosystem services: a guide for decision makers. World Resources Institute, Washington, D.C.

Raworth, D.A., S.J. Clements & C. Cirkony (1997) Carabid beetles in commercial raspberry fields in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia and a sampling protocol for Pterostichus melanarius (Coleoptera: Carabidae). Journal of the Entomological Society of British Columbia 94: 51-58.

Silvertown, J. (2009) A new dawn for citizen science. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 24: 467-470.

Thomas, C.D., E. J. Bodsworth, R. J. Wilson, A. D. Simmons, Z. G. Davies, M. Musche & L. Conradt (2001) Ecological and evolutionary processes at expanding range margins. Nature 411: 577-581.


  • There are currently no refbacks.