This paper studied the occurrence of carabid beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) in the forest edge, the adjacent forest interior, and the surrounding grassland in southwestern China. Beetles were collected with pitfall traps along five replicated transects. Forest species rarely penetrated into the grassland from the forest interior, and the grassland specialists were not found in the forest interior. The forest edge hosted additional species from the adjacent grassland that increased its overall species richness. Nearly all forest species (23 of 24 species) and grassland species (13 of 15 species) can be found in the forest edge. Carabids of the forest edge were more similar to those of the forest interior than to those of the grassland by ordination and cluster analysis. Based on the specificity and fidelity, carabids can be distinguished into five species groups: habitat generalists, grassland-associated species, forest generalists, forest specialists, and edge-associated species. Multiple linear regression analysis showed that canopy cover and/or shrub cover were the most important factors in determining the richness, abundance, and diversity of carabids. The forest edge may serve as a transition zone for dispersal and re-colonization of carabid beetles from adjacent habitats and therefore is important for natural conservation.
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