There are large numbers of records of uncommon beetles from exposed riverine sediments (ERS) (gravel, sand and silt shoals) in the UK. However, systematic surveys of their occurrence in relation to environmental controls are seldom undertaken. Data are presented here from a survey of 69 shingle ERS across England and Wales and used to establish which factors were important in constraining species assemblages. Over 480 species of Coleoptera were collected by a combination of pitfall trapping, hand searching and excavation techniques. A total of 81 species with conservation status of Vulnerable, Rare or Nationally Scarce were recorded during the work and this includes six species on the United Kingdom Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) lists. A subset of 42 of these rare species can be classified as ERS specialists. The data were analysed using TWINSPAN, redundancy analysis (RDA), single factor ANOVA, general linear modelling (GLM) and correlation to examine the importance of selected environmental variables and their relationships with the species assemblages. The results indicate that: (i) ERS sites with large numbers of species that are either rare or exhibit strong fidelity to the sediments have a markedly western distribution in the UK and are found on unregulated rivers in Wales and a number of rivers in the south west of England, (ii) the type of substrate, habitat heterogeneity, the percentage of shade from trees, the percentage of fine sediments on the ERS, the amount of trampling and ERS size are important in determining invertebrate communities and (iii) ERS provide valuable and important habitats for rare beetles species in the UK. The importance of river regulation, engineering and trampling by stocking for ERS invertebrates is discussed. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
- floodplain biodiversity
- exposed riverine sediments