Canadian Forest Service Publications

Molecular and microscopic analysis of the gut contents of abundant rove beetle species (Coleoptera, Staphylinidae) in the boreal balsam fir forest of Quebec, Canada. 2013. Klimaszewski, J.; Morency, M.-J.; Labrie, P.; Séguin, A.; Langor, D.; Work, T.; Bourdon, C.; Thiffault, E.; Paré, D.; Newton, A.F.; Thayer, M.K. ZooKeys 353:1-24.

Year: 2013

Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 35230

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.353.5991

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Experimental research on beetle responses to removal of logging residues following clearcut harvesting in the boreal balsam fir forest of Quebec revealed several abundant rove beetle (Staphylinidae) species potentially important for long-term monitoring. To understand the trophic affiliations of these species in forest ecosystems, it was necessary to analyze their gut contents. We used microscopic and molecular (DNA) methods to identify the gut contents of the following rove beetles: Atheta capsularis Klimaszewski, Atheta klagesi Bernhauer, Oxypoda grandipennis (Casey), Bryophacis smetanai Campbell, Ischnosoma longicorne (Mäklin), Mycetoporus montanus Luze, Tachinus frigidus Erichson, Tachinus fumipennis (Say), Tachinus quebecensis Robert, and Pseudopsis subulata Herman. We found no apparent arthropod fragments within the guts; however, a number of fungi were identified by DNA sequences, including filamentous fungi and budding yeasts [Ascomycota: Candida derodonti Suh & Blackwell (accession number FJ623605), Candida mesenterica (Geiger) Diddens & Lodder (accession number FM178362), Candida railenensis Ramirez and Gonzáles (accession number JX455763), Candida sophie-reginae Ramirez & González (accession number HQ652073), Candida sp. (accession number AY498864), Pichia delftensis Beech (accession number AY923246), Pichia membranifaciens Hansen (accession number JQ26345), Pichia misumaiensis Y. Sasaki and Tak. Yoshida ex Kurtzman 2000 (accession number U73581), Pichia sp. (accession number AM261630), Cladosporium sp. (accession number KF367501), Acremonium psammosporum W. Gams (accession number GU566287), Alternaria sp. (accession number GU584946), Aspergillus versicolor Bubak (accession number AJ937750), and Aspergillus amstelodami (L. Mangin) Thom and Church (accession number HQ728257)]. In addition, two species of bacteria [Bradyrhizobium japonicum (Kirchner) Jordan (accession number BA000040) and Serratia marcescens Bizio accession number CP003942] were found in the guts. These results not only provide evidence of the consumer-resource relations of these beetles but also clarify the relationship between rove beetles, woody debris and fungi. Predominance of yeast-feeding by abundant rove beetles suggests that it may play an important role in their dietary requirements.

Plain Language Summary

In order to monitor the long-term effect of harvesting logging residue (residual biomass) in the boreal forest, indicators need to be developed. To this end, the researchers used an innovative approach to target 10 insect species of the rove beetle family that are present in large numbers in the boreal forest.

To select these insects within the ecosystem and determine their potential as reliable indicators, the researchers analyzed the content of their digestive tracts to identify their eating habits, an approach used for the first time with this family of insects. By doing so, the researchers were able to determine that the majority of these insects feed on fungi that grow only in the presence of wood (forest residues or healthy trees). They were able to identify these fungi by comparing the DNA of the fungi in the insects’ digestive tracts with known fungi in DNA libraries.

By using this method, the researchers were able to quickly and cost-effectively determine the role of these insects in the forest ecosystem and their ability to act as reliable indicators of the effect of biomass harvesting on logging sites.