Diversity and abundance of ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) can be enhanced in vegetable and field intercropping systems, but the complexity of polycultures precludes the application of generalized assumptions of effects for novel intercropping combinations. In a field experiment conducted at Lacombe and Ellerslie, Alberta, Canada, in 2005 and 2006, we investigated the effects of intercropping canola (Brassica napus L.) with wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) on the diversity and community structure of carabid beetles, and on the activity density responses of individual carabid species. Shannon—Wiener diversity index scores and species evenness increased significantly as the proportion of wheat comprising total crop plant populations increased in one site-year of the study, indicating a positive response to enhanced crop plant species evenness in the intercrops, and in that same site-year, ground beetle communities in intercrops shifted to more closely approximate those in wheat monocultures as the percentage of wheat in the intercrops increased. Individual carabid species activity densities showed differing responses to intercropping, although activity densities of some potential root maggot (Delia spp.) (Diptera: Anthomyiidae) predators were greater in intercrops with high proportions of wheat than in canola monocultures. The activity density of Pterostichus melanarius (Illiger), the most abundant species collected, tended to be greater in canola monocultures than high-wheat intercrops or wheat monocultures. We conclude that intercrops of canola and wheat have the potential to enhance populations of some carabid species, therefore possibly exerting increased pressure on some canola insect pests.
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