Diversity, abundance and community network structure in sporocarp-associated beetle communities of the central Appalachian Mountains

Mary Jane Epps, A. Elizabeth Arnold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Although arthropods are abundant and diverse in and on macrofungal sporocarps, their associations with fungi seldom have been described at a community level. We examined sporocarpassociated beetle communities in two primary sites in the Appalachian Mountains and foothills, assessing beetle diversity and abundance in relation to study site, sampling season (early vs. late summer), and sporocarp characteristics such as taxonomic position, dry mass and age. From 758 sporocarps representing.tdthomgt;180 species we recovered 15 404 adult beetles representing 72 species and 15 families, primarily Staphylinidae (tdthomgt;98% of individuals and of 64% morphospecies). The probability of sporocarp colonization by beetles, beetle abundance and diversity differed among fungal species and were positively associated with sporocarp dry mass. Sporocarp age was positively correlated with beetle diversity and abundance (as measured in a focal species, Megacollybia platyphylla, Tricholomataceae), and its effects were independent of dry mass. Many beetle species were generalists, visiting a wide breadth of fungi in both the Agaricales and Polyporales; however, several beetle taxa showed evidence of specialization on particular fungal hosts. Host association data were used to examine the structure underlying sporocarpbeetle associations. Here we present the first evidence of nested community structure in the sporocarpbeetle interaction network.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)785-802
Number of pages18
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2010


  • Coleoptera
  • Ephemeral resource
  • Erotylidae
  • Gyrophaenina
  • Host specificity
  • Interaction web
  • Megacollybia platyphylla
  • Mycophagy
  • Staphylinidae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology


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