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Soil salinity determines the diversity of snail-killing flies (Diptera: Sciomyzidae) in brackish marshes
Van de Meutter, F.; Mortelmans, J.; Gyselings, R. (2020). Soil salinity determines the diversity of snail-killing flies (Diptera: Sciomyzidae) in brackish marshes. Eur. J. Entomol. 117: 289-294. https://dx.doi.org/10.14411/eje.2020.033
In: European Journal of Entomology. Institute of Entomology of the Czech Academy of Sciences: Ceské Budejovice. ISSN 1210-5759; e-ISSN 1802-8829
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Diptera [WoRMS]; Sciomyzidae Macquart, 1846 [WoRMS]
    Brackish water
Author keywords
    Diptera, Sciomyzidae, snail-killing flies, insect diversity, soil salinity, brackish marshes, Atlantic brackish meadows, Belgium

Authors  Top 
  • Van de Meutter, F.
  • Mortelmans, J.
  • Gyselings, R.

Abstract
    Brackish marshes resulting from embankments are a rare habitat in Europe and for which there is little knowledge of the entomofauna. There is an urgent need to document the insect diversity and its unique properties in the light of ongoing habitat losses. The current study focuses on snail-killing flies in the remaining Belgian brackish marshes, in particular the role of soil salinity in determining their diversity and how it compares with that in freshwater marshes. Snail-killing fly communities in brackish marshland were relatively species poor and clearly different from those in freshwater, yet species richness and abundance increased with decreasing soil salinity. We recorded no habitat-specific species, but Tetanocera arrogans was more abundant in brackish marshes. Malaise traps proved to be a successful and repeatable method of sampling sciomyzid communities, the species composition of which was strongly site-specific. We conclude that extant Belgian brackish marshes have poor to moderately rich snail-killing fly communities that lack unique species. Richness and abundance, however, increased as soil salinity decreased.

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