Type of broadleaf forest matters most for ptyctimous mite communities (Acari, Oribatida) in Norway
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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OriginalversjonBiodiversity and Conservation, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-021-02228-1
We studied ptyctimous moss mites, which are characteristic of forest habitats, in Norwegian broadleaf forests considered as biodiversity hotspot areas in Fennoscandia. The study aimed to evaluate the effect of different factors (regional locality, annual precipitation, mean annual temperature, forest type, forest wetness and microhabitat) on the ptyctimous mites and on discovering their richness in broadleaf forests. Samples were collected from nine broadleaf forests in Western, Southern and Eastern Norway, in different climatic conditions, six forest types, three forest wetness states and eight microhabitats. Overall, 3341 ptyctimous mites were collected and their abundance differed significantly among the regions, forest types and microhabitats. Forest type turned out to be the most important factor, responsible for 24.5% of the total variation in the abundance of the ptyctimous mites. Other important factors were forest wetness and microhabitat. In total, 27 species, i.e., 87% of all ptyctimous mites known from before in Norway were found and the species richness was highest in the east and lowest in the west of the country. Atropacarus (Atropacarus) striculus was most common and most abundant; it made nearly 30% of all ptyctimous mites collected. On the other hand, a quarter of the species were represented by less than 10 specimens; most of these were new records for Norway. Among ten species discovered as new to Norway, four were also new to Fennoscandia. These findings confirm the unique character and high biological diversity of Norwegian broadleaf forests.