Ground beetles are postdispersal weed seed predators, yet their role in consuming buried seeds is not well studied. We conducted greenhouse experiments to investigate how seed burial affects consumption of weed seeds (volunteer canola) by adult ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae). Seed burial depth influenced seed consumption rates as demonstrated by a significant interaction between seed burial depth, carabid species, and gender of the carabid tested. We observed higher seed consumption by females of all species, and greater consumption of seeds scattered on the soil surface compared with seeds buried at any depth. However, there was evidence of seed consumption at all depths. Adults of Pterostichus melanarius (Illiger) and Harpalus affinis (Schrank) consumed more buried seeds than did those of Amara littoralis Mannerheim. Agricultural practices, such as tillage, bury seeds at different depths and based on the results of this study, these practices may reduce seed consumption by carabids. Soil conservation practices that reduce tillage (conservation or zero tillage) will favor greater weed seed predation due, in part, to the high availability of seeds at the soil surface or at shallow soil depths.
Nomenclature: Volunteer canola, Brassica napus L.