Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Beetle community changes following pest mammal control at two biodiversity sanctuaries in Wellington, New Zealand.

Abstract

Introduced pest mammals impact widely on New Zealand invertebrates, but community-level responses to mammal removal are largely unmeasured. Beetles were pitfall-trapped for 7-10 years to examine how their communities responded to near eradication of all mammals except mice (Mus musculus) within a fenced sanctuary (Zealandia), and to sustained mammal control at an unfenced sanctuary (Otari-Wilton's Bush). In Zealandia, beetle abundance unexpectedly declined for 6 years after mammal eradication before stabilising. Beetle community composition changed, perhaps due to increased predation by birds and mice, but species richness, size distribution and trophic composition did not. At Otari-Wilton's Bush, beetle abundance also declined, in the presence of few but diverse mammals. Identifying causes of invertebrate community changes will be improved with study replication, more 'before' data, and targeted measurement of possible explanatory factors. Five recommendations are made for future insect community monitoring, including reconstructing fossil invertebrate communities to sharpen restoration objectives.