Ana M. Cárdenas, José L. Bujalance, Juan M. Hidalgo
Journal of Insect Science 11 (58), 1-16, (1 May 2011) https://doi.org/10.1673/031.011.5801
KEYWORDS: Coleoptera, Edaphic insects, Environmental recovery, Guadiamar, Tenebrionidae, mine accident
This study is part of the Follow up Restoration Program of animal communities that colonize the Guadiamar River Basin. In 1998, the area was affected by a release of toxic sludge after the retention walls of the Aznalcóllar Mines (southern Iberian Peninsula) broke. The main objective of this study was to assess the current state of the population of Tenebrionidae, one of the most representative groups of edaphic Coleoptera inhabiting the Guadiamar River Basin. This paper analyses the progress made by the darkling beetle community six years after the disaster occurred and the Restoration Program was implemented. The study is based on faunistic data from systematic sampling carried out for six years to monitor plots distributed across the damaged area. To make an overall assessment of the tenebrionid fauna in relation to adjacent areas qualitative and quantitative ecological indices were applied, and temporal follow up and biogeographical comparisons were also made. The results indicate that, on the whole, tenebrionid fauna was somewhat affected by the Aznalcóllar Mine spill, and that a greater loss of fauna was detected closer to the accident site. The analysis of the temporal population dynamic suggests that the most affected zones are undergoing a process of re-colonization. However, this process varies widely by species and has not yet reached the expected levels of a non-affected river basin in the southern Iberian Peninsula.