The diversity of beetle assemblages in different habitat types (primary forest, logged forest, acacia plantation and oil palm plantation) in Sabah, Malaysia was investigated using three different methods based on habitat levels (Winkler sampling, flight-interception-trapping and mist-blowing). The overall diversity was extremely high, with 1711 species recorded from only 8028 individuals and 81 families (115 family and subfamily groups). Different degrees of environmental changes had varying effects on the beetle species richness and abundance, with oil palm plantation assemblage being most severely affected, followed by acacia plantation and then logged forest. A few species became numerically dominant in the oil palm plantation. In terms of beetle species composition, the acacia fauna showed much similarity with the logged forest fauna, and the oil palm fauna was very different from the rest. The effects of environmental variables (number of plant species, sapling and tree densities, amount of leaf litter, ground cover, canopy cover, soil pH and compaction) on the beetle assemblage were also investigated. Leaf litter correlated with species richness, abundance and composition of subterranean beetles. Plant species richness, tree and sapling densities correlated with species richness, abundance and composition of understorey beetles while ground cover correlated only with the species richness and abundance of these beetles. Canopy cover correlated only with arboreal beetles. In trophic structure, predators represented more than 40% of the species and individuals. Environmental changes affected the trophic structure with proportionally more herbivores (abundance) but fewer predators (species richness and abundance) in the oil palm plantation. Biodiversity, conservation and practical aspects of pest management were also highlighted in this study.
Aphids are major pests of wheat crop in Pakistan inflicting considerable economic losses. A better knowledge of landscape scale spatial distribution of aphids and their natural enemies could be used to improve integrated pest management programs. Therefore, the present study aimed to document spatio-temporal variations in populations of wheat aphids and their natural enemies in Pakistan. The 2-year survey study was carried out at ten experimental farms located in five districts of four contrasted agro-ecological zones of eastern Pakistan (Punjab area) i.e. District Chakwal in arid zone, Gujranwala in rice-cropped zone, Faisalabad in central mixed-cropped zone, and Khanewal and Multan in cotton-cropped zone. The dominant aphid species i.e. Schizaphis graminum, Rhopalosiphum padi, R. maidis and Sitobion avenae varied significantly among the five districts surveyed. The population of S. graminum was observed more abundant in arid, R. padi in rice, S. avenae in aird and rice, and R. maidis in cotton-I zones. Aphids ended their population dynamics on 25th March in central mixed-cropped zone and 12th April in other three zones. Various species of natural enemies, mainly Coccinella septumpunctata, C. undecimpunctata, Menochilus sexmaculata, Chrysoperla carnea, Syrphidae and parasitoid mummies were inconsistently observed in four agro-ecological zones. The population of C. septumpunctata, was observed more abundant in rice zone, C. undecimpunctata and C. carnea in cotton-I and arid zones, M. sexmaculata in cotton-I and II zones, Syrphidae in cotton-I zone and parasitoid mummies in rice and arid zones. There were no clear relationships between aphid and the natural enemy populations. The present study may serve as a baseline regarding distribution of wheat aphids and their natural enemies and the results provided insights for further studies on the potential top-down (natural enemies) versus bottom-up (fertilization and irrigation regimes) forces in management of wheat aphids in eastern Pakistan.
Two new species of Ancyronyx Erichson, 1847 (Coleoptera: Elmidae) are described from Borneo: A. pulcherrimus (Brunei) and A. reticulatus (Sabah). Habitus views, illustrations of important characters as well as plastron structures of Ancyronyx reticulatus are presented and discussed.
Paederus fuscipes Curtis, a dermatitis linearis causing agent, has received increasing attention from the public, as it poses a serious health threat after mass dispersal into human-dominated areas. Preventive measures against this insect have so far been unsuccessful partly because of limited knowledge about its dispersal pattern. In this study, the dispersal activity of P. fuscipes was studied at infestation-prone residential buildings in Mainland Penang, Malaysia. The dispersal activity of P. fuscipes showed two peaks, that is, from February to April and August to October. Overall, there was no statistical significant correlation between dispersal and climatic parameters, that is, temperature, relative humidity, total rainfall, at all sampling localities. However, dispersal was primarily caused by human activities in rice fields, which accounted for >60% of the variability in dispersal. Particularly, rice harvesting, including straw burning, and cultivation were the major factors triggering P. fuscipes dispersal. These activities presumably disrupted the habitat and normal activities of P. fuscipes and rendered the rice fields unfavorable refuges. In addition, the beetles might also face food shortages after the disturbance of their prey base in the crop fields. The current study provides a predictive tool of P. fuscipes flight periods to ensure insecticide residual spraying is timed in the infestation-prone residential areas before the onset of infestation.
Rhythmic flashing behavior of synchronous flashing fireflies from Malaysia and New Guinea was studied. The "circa second" firefly pacemaker has characteristics analogous to circadian rhythms, such as entrainment, phase shifting, limits of entrainment, fringe entrainment, and effects of the light:dark ratio on phase. The three species studied show different phase-response curves; a light pulse causes a large phase shift in one firefly species (Pteroptyx cribellata) but small phase shifts in others (Pteroptyx malaccae and Luciola pupilla). Comparative studies of the phase angle differences between the animal's flash and the flash of a controlled light source suggest at least two different mechanisms of attaining synchrony: 1) by cycle-to-cycle phase shifting of a stable oscillator; 2) by changing the underlying period (tau) of a variable oscillator.
Paederus fuscipes, a vector of Paederus dermatitis in most tropical and subtropical countries of the world have a high prevalence in human dwellings due to their positively phototaxic behaviour which has caused a tremendous impact on human health. In this paper, P. fuscipes dispersal flights were studied for two seasons of the rice cultivation phases in residential premises built close to rice field areas (≈32-60 m and 164 m) in mainland Penang, Malaysia. We examined the effects of different light illuminance, building floor level and their association with rice stages as a focal cause of P. fuscipes dispersion from the rice fields towards human dwellings. The present study showed a significant interaction between different light illuminances and rice cultivation phases in attracting P. fuscipes to disperse and invade human dwellings. The highest number of P. fuscipes was captured near the bright light. P. fuscipes flights increased in line with each floor level, and the highest captures took place at higher building floor levels (levels 2 and 3) compared to lower building floor levels (ground floor and level 1) of a three storey apartment in both rice seasons. This finding not only conveys a better understanding on P. fuscipes dispersal pattern, but also draws public attention on the occurrence of dermatitis linearis caused by the Paederus beetles.
An assemblage of beetle specimens from family Carabidae (ground beetles) was carried out at Kenyir water catchment as an indicator to measure disturbance. The samplings were conducted from 30th July to 1st August 2007 at limestone forest of Teluk Bewah and the dipterocarp forest of Sungai Cicir. 28 individuals from 13 species were collected from Teluk Bewah whereas 54 individuals from ten species was sampled from Sungai Cicir. The carabids were more specious (Simpson Diversity index: 0.97) and more abundant (Margalef index: 5.35) at Teluk Bewah compared to Sungai Cicir (Simpson Diversity index, 0.72: Margalefindex, 2.22). Light trapping was most efficient assembling 97.56% of ground beetles compared to Malaise trap, pitfall and net sweeping. This is the first record of beetle assemblage at Kenyir water catchment, Malaysia. New records for Kenyir, Terengganu, Malaysia are Abacetus sp. 1, Abacetus sp. 2, Acupalpus rectifrotis, Aephnidius adelioides, Dischissus notulatus, Dolichoctis sp., Dolichoctis sp. 2, Dolichoctis straitus, Ophinoea bimaculata, Perigona sp., Pheropsophus piciccollis, Pheropsophus occipitalis, Stenolophus quinquepustulatus, Stenolophus smaragdulus, Stenolophus sp., Tachys coracinus, Casnoidea sp., Orthogonius sp. Seven species coded as Cara C, Cara J, Cara M, Cara N, Cara O, Cara R and Cara S were unidentified and are probably new species to be described in another report. There is moderately high diversity (Simpson Diversity index: 0.846) of Carabidae indicating that ecotourism does not affect diversity of ground beetle at Kenyir Lake.
Much of the literature on the relationship between species richness or functional group richness and measures of ecosystem function focuses on a restricted set of ecosystem function measures and taxonomic groups. Few such studies have been carried out under realistic levels of diversity in the field, particularly in high diversity ecosystems such as tropical forests. We used exclusion experiments to study the effects of dung beetle functional group richness and composition on two interlinked and functionally important ecological processes, dung removal and secondary seed dispersal, in evergreen tropical forest in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. Overall, both dung and seed removal increased with dung beetle functional group richness. However, levels of ecosystem functioning were idiosyncratic depending on the identity of the functional groups present, indicating an important role for functional group composition. There was no evidence for interference or competition among functional groups. We found strong evidence for overyielding and transgressive overyielding, suggesting complementarity or facilitation among functional groups. Not all mixtures showed transgressive overyielding, so that complementarity was restricted to particular functional group combinations. Beetles in a single functional group (large nocturnal tunnellers) had a disproportionate influence on measures of ecosystem function: in their absence dung removal is reduced by approximately 75%. However, a full complement of functional groups is required to maximize ecosystem functioning. This study highlights the importance of both functional group identity and species composition in determining the ecosystem consequences of extinctions or altered patterns in the relative abundance of species.
The net-winged beetle genus Alyculus Kasantsev is reported from Peninsular Malaysia for the first time and a new species, A. malaypeninsularis sp. nov., is described and illustrated. An expanded identification key to Alyculus males is provided and the biology and distribution of the species are discussed.
Pselaphinae is a species-rich beetle subfamily found globally, with many exhibiting myrmecophily-a symbiotic association with ants. Pselaphine-ant associations vary from facultative to obligate, but direct behavioral observations still remain scarce. Pselaphines are speciose and ecologically abundant within tropical leaf litter invertebrate communities where ants dominate, implying a potentially important ecological role that may be affected by habitat disturbances that impact ants. In this study, we measured and analyzed putative functional traits of leaf litter pselaphines associated with myrmecophily through morphometric analysis. We calculated "myrmecophile functional diversity" of pselaphines at different sites and examined this measure's relationship with ant abundance, in both old growth and logged rainforest sites in Sabah, Borneo. We show that myrmecophile functional diversity of pselaphine beetles increases as ant abundance increases. Old growth rainforest sites support a high abundance of ants, which is associated with a high abundance of probable myrmecophilous pselaphines. These results suggest a potential link between adult morphological characters and the functional role these beetles play in rainforest litter as ecological interaction partners with ants.
The effect of sexual selection on species persistence remains unclear. The cost of bearing ornaments or armaments might increase extinction risk, but sexual selection can also enhance the spread of beneficial alleles and increase the removal of deleterious alleles, potentially reducing extinction risk. Here we investigate the effect of sexual selection on species persistence in a community of 34 species of dung beetles across a gradient of environmental disturbance ranging from old growth forest to oil palm plantation. Horns are sexually selected traits used in contests between males, and we find that both horn presence and relative size are strongly positively associated with species persistence and abundance in altered habitats. Testes mass, an indicator of post-copulatory selection, is, however, negatively linked with the abundance of species within the most disturbed habitats. This study represents the first evidence from a field system of a population-level benefit from pre-copulatory sexual selection.
The effects of four temperatures (15, 23.5, 28, and 35 degrees C) on the biological characteristics of the rove beetle Paederus fuscipes Curtis were studied, and its cuticular permeability also was measured. Specimens successfully developed to adulthood at each temperature tested, but development time of each preadult stage significantly decreased with increasing temperature. Both egg and L1 stages required at least 80 degree days above a threshold of approximately 10 degrees C to develop to the subsequent stage. The lengthy development time and high survival rate of preadults at 15 degrees C suggests that P. fuscipes can survive in a harsh environment during cold weather by hibernating, and this ability could allow preadults to succeed ecologically in temperate countries. However, adult longevity was short, and no fecundity was recorded at 15 degrees C. At 28 degrees C, P. fuscipes exhibited a high survival rate of adults, which had a longer life span and high fecundity; thus, the population had the highest intrinsic rate of increase (0.0788 +/- 0.0051 d(-1)) and the shortest mean generation time (48.57 +/- 1.43 d) at 28 degrees C. At this temperature, the population might reach a size that could facilitate invasion into residential areas. However, in the absence of a hygric environment, P. fuscipes was unable to survive despite favorable temperature. Unlike in adults and pupae, high cuticular permeability values were found in the larval stages. This indicates that larvae are highly susceptible to desiccation, and it explains why the distribution of P. fuscipes is restricted to moist habitats.
The species of the genus Coeligetes Jacoby, 1884 distributed in Malaysia and Indonesia are revised, illustrated and keyed. New species, C. howardi sp. nov. from Borneo is described. New synonymy Coeligetes submetallica Jacoby, 1884 = C. wilcoxi Mohamedsaid, 1994 (syn. nov.) is proposed. New genus and species Coeligetoides trifurcatus gen. nov., sp. nov. (Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia and Thailand) is described, illustrated and compared with related genera.
Field studies integrating pollination investigations with an assessment of floral scent composition and thermogenesis in tropical aroids are rather few. Thus, this study aimed to investigate the pollination biology of nine species belonging to Schismatoglottis Calyptrata Complex Clade. The flowering mechanism, visiting insect activities, reproductive system, thermogenesis and floral scent composition were examined. Anthesis for all species started at dawn and lasted 25-29 h. Colocasiomyia (Diptera, Drosophilidae) are considered the main pollinators for all the investigated species. Cycreon (Coleoptera, Hydrophilidae) are considered secondary pollinators as they are only present in seven of the nine host plants, despite the fact that they are the most effective pollen carrier, carrying up to 15 times more pollen grains than Colocasiomyia flies. However, the number of Colocasiomyia individuals was six times higher than Cycreon beetles. Chaloenus (Chrysomelidae, Galeuricinae) appeared to be an inadvertent pollinator. Atheta (Coleoptera, Staphylinidae) is considered a floral visitor in most investigated species of the Calyptrata Complex Clade in Sarawak, but a possible pollinator in S. muluensis. Chironomidae midges and pteromalid wasps are considered visitors in S. calyptrata. Thermogenesis in a biphasic pattern was observed in inflorescences of S. adducta, S. calyptrata, S. giamensis, S. pseudoniahensis and S. roh. The first peak occurred during pistillate anthesis; the second peak during staminate anthesis. Inflorescences of all investigated species of Calyptrata Complex Clade emitted four types of ester compound, with methyl ester-3-methyl-3-butenoic acid as a single major VOC (volatile organic compound). The appendix, pistillate zone, staminate zone and spathe emitted all these compounds. A mixed fly-beetle pollination system is considered an ancestral trait in the Calyptrata Complex Clade, persisting in Sarawak taxa, whereas the marked reduction of interpistillar staminodes in taxa from Peninsular Malaysia and especially, Ambon, Indonesia, is probably linked to a shift in these taxa to a fly-pollinated system.
Southeast Asia is a hotspot of imperiled biodiversity, owing to extensive logging and forest conversion to oil palm agriculture. The degraded forests that remain after multiple rounds of intensive logging are often assumed to be of little conservation value; consequently, there has been no concerted effort to prevent them from being converted to oil palm. However, no study has quantified the biodiversity of repeatedly logged forests. We compare the species richness and composition of birds and dung beetles within unlogged (primary), once-logged and twice-logged forests in Sabah, Borneo. Logging had little effect on the overall richness of birds. Dung beetle richness declined following once-logging but did not decline further after twice-logging. The species composition of bird and dung beetle communities was altered, particularly after the second logging rotation, but globally imperiled bird species (IUCN Red List) did not decline further after twice-logging. Remarkably, over 75 per cent of bird and dung beetle species found in unlogged forest persisted within twice-logged forest. Although twice-logged forests have less biological value than primary and once-logged forests, they clearly provide important habitat for numerous bird and dung beetle species. Preventing these degraded forests from being converted to oil palm should be a priority of policy-makers and conservationists.
A human corpse at an advanced stage of decomposition was found in a house in the residential area of Bukit Mertajam, Penang, Malaysia. Entomological specimens were collected during the post-mortem and the live specimens were subsequently reared at room temperature. The time of death was estimated to have been 14 days previous to the discovery of the body based on the police investigation. Both adult and larvae of the beetle Dermestes ater (De Geer) were found to be infesting the corpse and from the stage of decomposition of the body and the estimated time of death it would appear that infestation may have begun at a relatively early stage of decomposition.
A key driver of rain forest degradation is rampant commercial logging. Reduced-impact logging (RIL) techniques dramatically reduce residual damage to vegetation and soils, and they enhance the long-term economic viability of timber operations when compared to conventionally managed logging enterprises. Consequently, the application of RIL is increasing across the tropics, yet our knowledge of the potential for RIL also to reduce the negative impacts of logging on biodiversity is minimal. We compare the impacts of RIL on birds, leaf-litter ants, and dung beetles during a second logging rotation in Sabah, Borneo, with the impacts of conventional logging (CL) as well as with primary (unlogged) forest. Our study took place 1-8 years after the cessation of logging. The species richness and composition of RIL vs. CL forests were very similar for each taxonomic group. Both RIL and CL differed significantly from unlogged forests in terms of bird and ant species composition (although both retained a large number of the species found in unlogged forests), whereas the composition of dung beetle communities did not differ significantly among forest types. Our results show little difference in biodiversity between RIL and CL over the short-term. However, biodiversity benefits from RIL may accrue over longer time periods after the cessation of logging. We highlight a severe lack of studies investigating this possibility. Moreover, if RIL increases the economic value of selectively logged forests (e.g., via REDD+, a United Nations program: Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries), it could help prevent them from being converted to agricultural plantations, which results in a tremendous loss of biodiversity.
The cavities of bamboos (Poaceae) are used by various animals. Most of the animals access these cavities either by existing cracks or by excavating bamboos with soft walls or small, thin-walled bamboos. Only a few animals excavate into the cavities of large and thick- and hard-walled internodes of mature bamboos. We studied two lizard beetle species (Coleoptera: Erotylidae: Languriinae), Doubledaya ruficollis and Oxylanguria acutipennis, that excavate into large internode cavities of recently dead mature bamboos and have morphological modifications. We observed that females of D. ruficollis used their mandibles to bore oviposition holes on Schizostachyum sp. (mean wall thickness = 3.00 mm) and O. acutipennis did so on Dendrocalamus sp. (3.37 mm) bamboos. Previous studies suggested that the markedly asymmetrical mandibles and needle-like ovipositors of females in the genus Doubledaya are adaptive traits for excavating hard-walled bamboos for oviposition. Therefore, we measured their mandibular lengths and ovipositor lengths. D. ruficollis females had greater asymmetry in the mandibles and shorter and less-sclerotized ovipositors than females of congeners using small bamboos. In contrast, O. acutipennis females had slightly asymmetrical mandibles and elongated, well-sclerotized ovipositors. Oviposition holes of D. ruficollis were cone-shaped (evenly tapering), whereas those of O. acutipennis were funnel-shaped (tube-like at the internal apex). This suggests that D. ruficollis females excavate oviposition holes using the mandibles only, and O. acutipennis females use both the mandibles and ovipositors. These differences suggest different oviposition-associated morphological specialization for using large bamboos: the extremely asymmetrical mandibles in D. ruficollis and elongated, needle-like ovipositors in O. acutipennis.
Pollinator syndrome is one of the most important determinants regulating pollen dispersal in tropical tree species. It has been widely accepted that the reproduction of tropical forest species, especially dipterocarps that rely on insects with weak flight for their pollination, is positively density-dependent. However differences in pollinator syndrome should affect pollen dispersal patterns and, consequently, influence genetic diversity via the mating process. We examined the pollen dispersal pattern and mating system of Shorea maxwelliana, the flowers of which are larger than those of Shorea species belonging to section Mutica which are thought to be pollinated by thrips (weak flyers). A Bayesian mating model based on the paternity of seeds collected from mother trees during sporadic and mass flowering events revealed that the estimated pollen dispersal kernel and average pollen dispersal distance were similar for both flowering events. This evidence suggests that the putative pollinators - small beetles and weevils - effectively contribute to pollen dispersal and help to maintain a high outcrossing rate even during sporadic flowering events. However, the reduction in pollen donors during a sporadic event results in a reduction in effective pollen donors, which should lead to lower genetic diversity in the next generation derived from seeds produced during such an event. Although sporadic flowering has been considered less effective for outcrossing in Shorea species that depend on thrips for their pollination, effective pollen dispersal by the small beetles and weevils ensures outcrossing during periods of low flowering tree density, as occurs in a sporadic flowering event.