Indicator species can be a valuable tool for conservation research. Their use has been divided in two categories: inventory studies and monitoring studies. Tiger beetles (Coleoptera: Cicindelidae) have been identified as appropriate indicators for inventory studies. Here we test their value as potential bioindicators for monitoring habitat degradation in Venezuela. We analyze the general habitat associations of 47 of the 51 species of this insect family known to occur in Venezuela. We also analyze the assemblage patterns of forest-floor dwelling species associated with contiguous forest patches of primary and secondary forest in two sites. At the family level, tiger beetles occupy most of the major habitat types of Venezuela, but individual species tend to be restricted to one or two habitats. Forest-floor species assemblages change significantly with the degree of forest disturbance, and each stage of disturbance is characterized by a particular subset of species. Species associated with intermediate levels of disturbance show larger habitat breadth than those located at the extremes of the spectrum. The results of this study provide evidence that supports the use of tiger beetles as bioindicators for monitoring the degradation and regeneration of tropical forests.
- Habitat quality
- Tiger beetles
- Tropical forests
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Nature and Landscape Conservation