ArticlePDF Available




Responses of some species to disturbances can be used as a parameter of analysis about levels of change in the environmental services. These species can be used as environmental bioindicators. Class Insecta has many appropriate species. This paper aims an analysis of bioindicator species of the impact caused by intensive agriculture, deforestation, reforestation and pollution of aquatic and terrestrial environments.
HOLOS Environment, v.10 n.2, 2010 - P. 250
ISSN:1519-8634 (ON-LINE)
José Renato Mauricio da Rocha1, Josimar Ribeiro Almeida2,
Gustavo Aveiro Lins3, Alberto Durval4
1Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso - UFMT. Rua. Bento Alexandre dos Santos,
717 Centro. CEP 78.280-000, Mirassol D'Oeste, MT
2UFRJ/Escola Politécnica/Cidade Universitária/bloco D/sala 204/Rio de Janeiro, RJ
3CEDERJ, SEE/RJ, CEDAE. Rua Farias Brito 50/104 - CEP 20540320, Rio de
Janeiro, RJ
4Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso - UFMT - Rua 213, Quadra 49, n. 13 setor 2
Bairro Tijucal, CEP 78.088-18,5 Cuiabá, MT.
Responses of some species to disturbances can be used as a parameter of
analysis about levels of change in the environmental services. These species can be
used as environmental bioindicators. Class Insecta has many appropriate species.
This paper aims an analysis of bioindicator species of the impact caused by intensive
agriculture, deforestation, reforestation and pollution of aquatic and terrestrial
Keywords: Bioindicators. Insecta. Environmental polution. Monitoring.
A resposta de algumas espécies animais e vegetais às perturbações pode ser
utilizada como parâmetro de análise quanto aos níveis de alteração do funcionamento
dos serviços ambientais, e por isso são consideradas bioindicadoras das alterações
ambientais. No entanto, algumas espécies respondem mais fidedignamente do que
outras a estas alterações. A classe Insecta possui muitos representantes adequados
para este tipo de análise. Este trabalho objetiva a análise das espécies consideradas
HOLOS Environment, v.10 n.2, 2010 - P. 251
ISSN:1519-8634 (ON-LINE)
bioindicadoras das consequências causadas pela agricultura intensiva, pelo
desflorestamento, reflorestamento e pela poluição de ambientes aéreos, aquáticos e
Palavras-chave: Insecta. Bioindicadores. Alteração ambiental. Poluição. Perícia
There was a growing change of natural environments around the world, as a
result of the growth of human population in recent decades. The economic potential
of biodiversity and advanced destruction process of land ecosystems, especially in
tropical regions, led to the search for an extinction rate estimation of plant and animal
species, which are around 27,000 per year (ANDRADE, 1998; CHEY et al., 1997).
Invertebrates are more severely and quickly affected than other taxa by
changes in the landscape. The insects are responsible for many processes in the
ecosystem and its loss can have negative effects on entire communities. Thus, a
strong understanding of insect responses to human activity is necessary both to
support policy decisions for conservation and to evaluate functional consequences of
human disturbance on ecosystems (NICHOLSA et al., 2007).
Studies about biodiversity preservation in ecosystems can provide information
about maintenance of environmental resources and sustainable development. Insects
are the most abundant animals in almost all ecosystems and can be used to evaluate
the impact of environmental change. Through population and behavioral studies and
the taxonomy of species, it’s possible to estimate what the current degradation rate is
and its future consequences. This paper aims to analyze the major groups of insect
indicators on the aquatic and terrestrial environments.
Currently, a relevant question is whether fragmented environments can
preserve the diversity and abundance of insect species such as the high degree of
endemism observed in wild areas. In addition to what would be the fragmented
environments consequences on generalist species populations, which are an important
link in the food chain and development of plant species for pollination.
Many arthropods are used for bioindication because: a) the most frequently
collected taxa (such as beetles and spiders) are polyphagous predators and are
considered important for the biological control, b) collections are made easily with
pitfall traps, and c) catches are usually large enough to allow statistical analysis.
According Martos et al. (1997), environmental indicators are quantitative and
qualitative parameters able to show changes in the environment, where physical,
HOLOS Environment, v.10 n.2, 2010 - P. 252
ISSN:1519-8634 (ON-LINE)
biological, chemical or human phenomena are not studied alone, but together in the
complex dynamics of the environment.
Entomofauna studies to furnish information about ecosystems conservation
status their productivity and levels of water contamination and pollution. Therefore,
bioindicator species identification is essential, due to the important role that these
organisms have as transformers and regulators of ecosystems (BROWN, 1991;
CAMERO and CHAMORRO, 1995 apud RUBIO, 1999).
Concern with environmental issues has raised the demand for bioindicators
able to reflect their environment. Among these organisms, the insects may contribute
to a practical assessment of the sustainability degree (LOPES, 2008). According
Tylianakis et al. (2004), indicator insects become particularly useful because they
represent more than half of all species and their diversity allow assessing the
difference between habitats on acceptable refined scale. Insect groups used as
environmental bioindicators should have the characteristics shown in the Table 1.
Table 1 - Insect groups characteristics used as environmental indicators
Characteristics Description
Richness and species diversity Four in five species of animals are insects
Easy handling
Most species require few efforts for their
capture, except toxic species.
The small size of samples helps to their
capture and transport;
Ecological faithfulness
Many species may have low tolerance to
abiotic factors, which allows to link
certain insect groups with certain
Fragility to small changes
It allows to select demographical or
behavioral variables that can be
measured or observed in the field, and
have a close correlation with the pre
selected abiotic variables;
Organism’s responses To identify levels of environmental
Modified from Andrade (1998); Peck et al. (1998).
Requirements for aquatic insects groups to be considered environmental
quality bioindicators differ slightly from the characteristics attributed to bioindicators
in land environments. According to Peck et al. (1998), the bioindicators are: a)
Respond quickly to environmental changes; b) Have few generations per year; c) Are
easily sampled and identified; d) Show high sensitivity for detecting early changes in
their geographical area; e) Provide information without interruption of the extent
damage caused by environment alteration or pollution.
Some taxonomical and sampling difficulties have restricted the use of several
species of Coleoptera (beetles) and Homoptera (bugs) Orders as environmental
HOLOS Environment, v.10 n.2, 2010 - P. 253
ISSN:1519-8634 (ON-LINE)
bioindicators, especially in the tropical region (HOLOWAY, 1983 apud CHEY et al.,
1997). These concerns were also demonstrated by Carlton and Robison (1998) with
subfamily Aleocharinae (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae) due to the large number of
undescribed taxa and the lack of reliability on those already described. Moreover,
Frouz (1999) reported as one of the disadvantage to the use of Diptera species (flies),
as environmental bioindicators, the great taxonomic difficulty, especially in their
larval stage.
Several aquatic insects groups can be used as aquatic environment
bioindicators (Table 2). Odonata (dragonflies) species are very sensitive to changes
caused to their habitat, especially lakes and flooded drainage areas (CORBET, 1980).
Hamilton and Saether (1971) and Hardersen (2000) reported the potential of aquatic
insects as indicators of water quality. Several other species of the families Gyrinidae,
Dytiscidae, Hydrophilidae (Coleoptera), Notonectidae, Veliidae (Heteroptera) and
Plecoptera and Ephemeroptera Orders have high adaptive capacity, colonizing most
of the environments and occurring throughout the year, reflecting ecological and
geographical changes, and hence their conservation status.
The tolerance of aquatic organisms to heavy metals has been explained by the
metallothioneins (MTs) formation in many aquatic organisms. If the presence of MTs
is a measure of metal tolerance, the measurement of MTs could provide clues about
the tolerance in this organisms and possible toxic agents responsible for
environmental stress (BISTHOVEN et al., 1998). However, insects are less used as
pollution bioindicators by metals, although species of the genus Halobates are
suitable for bioindication of cadmium and mercury (NUMMELIN et al., 2007).
Land insects are good bioindicators in various types of environmental change
(Table 2). The Order Coleoptera represents approximately 20% of the total diversity
of arthropods and plays roles in maintaining soil quality, population regulation of
other invertebrates and energy flow, and contributes to the physical and chemistry
soil formation (CARLTON and ROBISON, 1998). Nummelin and Hanski (1989),
Nestel et al. (1993), Louzada and Lopes (1997) and Davis (2000) confirm beetles
species (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) have a high potential as environmental indicators
in forest area or agricultural crops.
Beetles from Order Coleoptera and Family Carabidae are important predators.
They participate of biological control, biological monitoring of pollution from oil,
sulfur, herbicides, CO2, insecticides and radioactive phosphorus.
The moths and butterflies (Lepidoptera), besides having basic requirements,
have ecological faithfulness in temperate and tropical regions and are very sensitive
to changes in the environment (GILBERT, 1984; ANDRADE, 1998). The habitat
mosaic maintenance that includes primary forests and other changed areas with
different change levels was the strategy suggested by Wood and Gillman (1998) to
HOLOS Environment, v.10 n.2, 2010 - P. 254
ISSN:1519-8634 (ON-LINE)
protect Lepidoptera diversity in natural environment management (WOOD and
GILLMAN, 1998).
Some lepidopteran groups are used as environmental pollution indicators by
heavy metals and carbon dioxide (CO2 concentration) in locations close to industrial
areas and even within urban areas. Presence and consequences of copper, iron, nickel,
cadmium, sulfuric acid ions and other substances used in fertilizers were studied with
pupae of different Geometridae and Noctuidae species (HELIÖVAARA and
VÄISÄNEN, 1990), Eriocraniidae populations (KORICHEVA and HAUKIOJA,
1992), cycle duration and newly hatched larval mortality rate from butterflies (Family
Nymphalidae), which feed on plants subjected to high CO2 concentrations (FAJER et
al., 1989).
Collembola are primitive insects that influence soil fertility through microbial
activity stimulation, the fungi spore distribution and inhibit fungi and bacteria action
causing diseases in plants (SAUTER and SANTOS, 1991; RUSEK, 1998). They are
very sensitive to changes in the soil and diversity reduction can show us pollution by
heavy metals, pesticides in agricultural soils and soil water acidification by organic
pollutants and waste (RUSEK, 1998).
Ants are used as soil quality bioindicators and have a key role in the recovery
of degraded and reforested areas (MEJER, 1984). This group, which is very sensitive
to human impact, could be used as environmental indicators in different ecosystems
(FOLGARAIT, 1998; PECK et al., 1998). Depending on the degree of the
environmental change, many expert species are extinct of the site, encouraging the
establishment of dominant, aggressive and generalist species, which can be used as
indicators of disturbed habitats (READ, 1996). The ants presented a strong resistance
to pollutants (radioactive and industrial pollutants) that may be because only about
10% of individuals fall outside the nest and exposed to the harmful pollution effects
(PETAL, 1978). Peck et al. (1998) suggest that some ant groups have potential as
biological indicators of soil conditions, crop management and assessment systems for
plantations in agroecosystems. The impact of ants in soil is demonstrated by leaf
cutting ones in the tropics, where they are the most important agent of change in the
soil, contributing to improving physical and chemical quality (CHERRET, 1989).
Order Diptera is a very heterogeneous group and there are some restrictions on
its use as bioindicator because of the lack of ecological knowledge of many groups of
flies. However, some flies species are considered good environmental change
bioindicators. Bartosova et al. (1997) showed the potential of species from the Family
Sarcophagidae as environmental pollution indicators by heavy metals, asbestos fibers
and waste chemicals. However, due to variability in the flies’ sensitivity to
insecticides and herbicides, Frouz (1999) recommends that one must be careful when
using some species of flies as chemical indicators of contaminated soil.
Family Syrphidae, one of the largest families of Diptera, has wide distribution,
well known taxonomy and its larvae require different environmental conditions,
which makes these flies’ good bioindicators. Due to environmental requirements of
HOLOS Environment, v.10 n.2, 2010 - P. 255
ISSN:1519-8634 (ON-LINE)
their larvae, these insects are particularly affected by the landscaping diversity
reduction (SOMMAGGIO, 1999).
Most of the research on pollinators as bioindicators have been on population
level and have focused mainly on bees. The pollinator strength and its population size
are generally considered the most important features for plant reproduction,
especially to the agricultural crops (KEVAN, 1999). Pollinators, especially
honeybees (Apis mellifera), are considered reliable biological indicators because they
show environment chemical impairment due to high mortality rate and intercept
particles suspended in air or flowers. These substances can then be detected using
methods of analysis (GHINI et al., 2004).
Table 2 - Bioindicator insect groups from aquatic and land environments and their role in the
Group Common Names Biomonitoring Habitat
Odonata Order dragonflies and damselflies water quality aquatic
Vellidae Families
whirligig beetles
predaceous diving beetles
due to high adaptive
capacity aquatic
Plecoptera Orders
due to high adaptive
capacity aquatic
Halobates oceanskaters cadmium and lead aquatic
Coleoptera Order
Scarabaeidae Family beetles in forest and agricultural
crop land
Coleoptera Order
Carabidae Family beetles
biological control
oil, sufur, herbicide, CO2,
insecticide pollution
Lepidoptera Order moths and butterflies
more sensitive
environmental changes
heavy metals and CO2
Collembola Order springtails
pollution by heavy metals,
pesticides and water
Formicidae Family ants
degraded and reforested
areas recovery
Diptera Order
Sarcophagidae Family flies and mosquitos heavy metals land
Diptera Order
Syrphidae Family flies and mosquitos are affected by diversity
reduction land
Apis mellifera domestic bees chemical environmental
changes land
HOLOS Environment, v.10 n.2, 2010 - P. 256
ISSN:1519-8634 (ON-LINE)
Cultivated areas or reforested areas with some diversity of plant species have
shown high insect species diversity and greater ecological stability, where the
competition for resources is intense, preventing the prevalence of few dominant
species (CHEY et al., 1997; DORVAL, 1995; MEZZOMO et al., 1998).
Explanations for loss of species in agricultural environments are: changes in
microclimatic conditions, foraging activity and nesting locations, reduced food
availability from the use of agrochemicals and interactions with other species (DE
BRUYN, 1999).
Monoculture is predominant in agricultural areas. In these areas there are many
populations of defoliator and sucking insects, characteristics of unbalanced
environment (ABATE et al, 2000). The use of fertilizers and chemicals is responsible
for the decline of biodiversity in simplified agricultural systems since it eliminates a
large number of insects acting as biological control agents.
Hymenoptera communities are common in agricultural areas. They act as crops
and wild plant pollinators. Furthermore, many species that live in society are
predators or parasitoids, acting as of biological control agents (TYLIANAKIS et al.,
We should consider the adoption of environmentally correct practices in areas
under agricultural management. The aeration depth control could prevent layers
destruction, where the activity of decomposer organisms (Collembola, Coleoptera) is
intense. The rational use of products to soil correction, fertilization and crop residues
incorporation can improve the organic soil part and provide optimal conditions for
decomposer insects and nitrogen fixing bacteria, increasing insect biodiversity.
Nummelin and Hanski (1989), Nestel et al. (1993), Perfecto et al. (1997), Honek and
Jarosik (2000) confirm the importance of cultural diversity for the preservation of the
diverse insect groups characteristic of not much changed areas.
In the forest, the imbalance begins with native vegetation replacement, which
normally has high insect diversity, for homogeneous plantation areas, where
ecological balance is fragile and insect diversity is reduced. Therefore, the number of
harmful insect species is quite high and frequently occurring population booms,
especially of defoliator lepidopteran (DORVAL, 1995).
The reforestation is usually located in nutrient-poor soils, and at certain times
of year the trees are exposed to water stress, becoming highly susceptible to attack by
insects. During this period there may be population booms of aggressive and
dominant insects.
Remaining strains of trees selective logging can serve as a host material,
providing favorable conditions for occurrence of dominant Scolytidae species
(ambrosia-beetle) population booms. Moreover, there is the fire that destroys
important soil layers, causing damages and weakening the trees, becoming them
susceptible to attack by insects.
HOLOS Environment, v.10 n.2, 2010 - P. 257
ISSN:1519-8634 (ON-LINE)
Therefore, the occurrence of harmful and dominant insect species in
agricultural and forest environments may be environmental imbalance evidences,
caused by changes in biotic and abiotic factors (Table 3).
Table 3 - Difference between agricultural and forest areas during biomonitoring
Agricultural Area Forest Area
defoliator and sucking insects deforestation increases number of harmful
diversity reduced due to fertilizers deforestation decreases insect diversity
pollinators: bees and wasps reforestation occurs in poor soil, increases
water stress and insects attacks
Social species: biological control
remaining strains: host material to ambrosia
Fire: destroys soil and trees
Many insects can be used as environmental pollution bioindicators (Table 4).
Ants have been used to measure pollutant concentrations in borealis forests and
Australia, and are currently used to monitor disturbed ecosystems. Bees are
considered one of the most versatile and efficient bioindicators. They are used to
monitor trace metals in urban environments, radioactivity after the Chernobyl
disaster, pesticides and herbicides effects, industrial wastes and pollutants (URBINI
et al., 2006).
Many studies have demonstrated deformities in larvae from several genera
from the Family Chironomidae (eg Procladius, Chironomus and Cryptochironomus)
and the results indicate that the abnormalities are strongly associated with polluted
sediments (SERVIA et al., 1998). Gerridae are indicated to detection of different iron
and manganese concentrations, but seem less suitable for nickel and lead
accumulated (NUMMELIN et al., 2007).
Wasps from the Polistes and other social wasps are at the top of the food chain
and, therefore, are exposed to dangerous biological concentration. As its mass larval
fecal can accumulate lead up to 36 times the adult body, these wasps seem to be a
promising species for pollution by lead biomonitoring (URBINI et al., 2006).
Table 4 - Insects groups used as environmental pollution bioindicators
Groups Biomonitoring
bees trace metals, radioactivity, pesticides, herbicides
and industrial pollutants
ants polluent concentration at Australia
Larvae Family Chironomidae iron and manganese concentration
Genus Polistes (wasps) lead pollution
HOLOS Environment, v.10 n.2, 2010 - P. 258
ISSN:1519-8634 (ON-LINE)
According to Eggleton et al. (1994), termites are important decomposers in
land ecosystems. Its activity increases soil infiltration capacity, leading to water
retention and soil productivity. In forests, they play a role in plant origin material and
organic soil decomposition and incorporation. In agricultural, pasture and
reforestation areas they are not always perceived because its nests are underground,
and their presence is only noticed by the damage they cause to the plants.
Aphids are pollution indicators, because they show an increase in their
population density when feeding on hosts exposed to environments with high CO2
concentrations. However, studies showed no significant correlation between CO2
increase and Homoptera population density (CANNON, 1998).
The use of bioindicators is essential for environmental monitoring. The main
characteristics of a bioindicator are: richness and diversity species, easy handling,
ecological faithfulness, fragility to small environmental changes and good organism
responses. Class Insecta has all of them. However, some species respond better than
others to these changes and according to the environment.
In the aquatic environment, Odonata species are more sensitive to
environmental changes in the water. Coleoptera, Heteroptera, Plecoptera and
Ephemeroptera have high adaptive capacity. In the land, Coleoptera Order has many
bioindicator species, for example Scarabaeidae Family (beetles) in forest and
agricultural cultures. Some Lepidoptera and Diptera groups are used as heavy metal
pollution indicators.
Agricultural and forestry systems have shown high insect diversity and better
ecological stability in relation to monoculture. The use of fertilizers and chemicals
reduces biodiversity in simplified agricultural areas. In the forest, the imbalance
begins with replacement of native vegetation, in areas of homogeneous plantations.
Therefore, it increases the number of harmful insects, especially defoliator
In environmental pollution, bees are used to monitor trace metals in urban
environments, radioactivity, and pesticide and herbicide effects. Gerridae detect
different iron and manganese concentrations.
Therefore, this study concluded that the Class Insecta has many potential
representatives that can be used as environmental bioindicators, among which are
some species from the Coleoptera, Diptera, Lepidoptera, Hymenoptera, Hemiptera,
Isoptera Orders and others.
HOLOS Environment, v.10 n.2, 2010 - P. 259
ISSN:1519-8634 (ON-LINE)
ABATE, T.; VAN HUIS, A.; AMPOFO, J.K. O. Pest management strategies in
traditional agriculture: An Africana perspectiva. Ann. Rev. Entono. v. 45, p. 631 –
59, 2000.
ANDRADE, M. G. Utilizassem de lãs mariposas como bioindicadoras del tipo de
habitat y su biodiversidad em Colômbia. Rev.Acad.Colomb.Cienc.Exact.Fis.Nat. v.
22, n.84, p. 407–421, 1998.
BARTOSOVA, M., GLOVINOVA, E.; POVOLNY, D. Use of flesh-flies (Diptera,
Sarcophagidae) for ecotoxicological bioindication. Ekol.-Bratislava, v. 16, p. 319-
322, 1997.
parameters in morphologically deformed Chironomus larvae: clues to understanding
their bioindicator value. Freshwater Biol. v. 39, p. 179–191, 1998.
BROWN, K. Conservation of neotropical environments: Insects as indicators. The
conservation of insects and their habitats. Collins N.J. Thomas. Chap. 14, p. 350-
420. 1991.
CANNON, R. J. C. The implications of predicted climate change for insect pests in
the UK, with emphasis on non-indigenous species. Global Change Biol.. v. 4, p.756-
96, 1998.
CARLTON, C. E.; ROBISON, H. W. Diversity of litter-dwelling beetles in the
Ouachita Highlands of Arkansas, USA (Insecta:Coleoptera). Biodivers. Conserv., v.
7, p. 1589–1605, 1998.
CHERRET, J. M. Leaf-cutting ants. Biogeographical and ecological studies.
Ecosystem of the World, Tropical Rain Forest Ecossystem, p. 473-488, 1989.
CHEY, V. K.; HOLLOWAY, J. D.; SPEIGHT, M. R. Diversity of moths in forest
plantations and natural forests in Sabah. Bull. Entomol. Res. v. 87, p. 371- 85, 1997.
CORBET, P.S. Biology of Odonata. Ann. Rev. Entomol. v. 25, p. 189-217, 1980.
DAVIS, A. Does reduced-impact logging help preserve biodiversity in tropical
rainforest? A case study from Borneo using dung beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeoidea)
as indicators. Environ. Entomol., v. 29, n.3, p. 469-73, 2000.
DE BRUYN, L.A.L. Ants as bioindicators of soil function in rural environments.
Agr. Ecosyst. Environ. v. 74, p. 425–441, 1999.
HOLOS Environment, v.10 n.2, 2010 - P. 260
ISSN:1519-8634 (ON-LINE)
DORVAL, A. Análise faunística e flutuação populacional de lepidópteros em
Eucalyptus urophylla e Eucalyptus cloeziana em Montes Claros, MG.1995. 129
f. Dissertação (Mestrado em Entomologia) – Departamento de Biologia Animal,
Universidade Federal de Viçosa. Viçosa. 1995.
EGGLETON, P.; WILLIAMS, P. H.; GASTON, K. J. Explaining global termite
diversity: productivity or history? Biodivers. Conserv., v. 3, p.318–330, 1994.
FAJER, E. D.; BOWERS M. D.; BAZZAZ, F. A. The effects of enriched carbon
dioxide atmospheres on plant-insect herbivore interactions. Science, v. 243, p.1198–
1199, 1989.
FOLGARAIT, P. J. Ant biodiversity and its relationship to ecosystem functioning: a
review. Biodivers. Conserv.,, v. 7, p. 1221–1244, 1998.
FROUZ, J. Use of soil dwelling Díptera (Insecta, Díptera) as bioindicaors: a review
of ecological requeriments and response to disturbance. Agr. Ecosyst. Environ., v.
74, p. 167–186, 1999.
GILBERT, L. E. The biology of butterfly communities. The biology of butterfly, p.
41 – 54, 1984.
GIROTTI, S. Occurrence and distribution of pesticides in the province of Bologna,
Italy, using honeybees as bioindicators. Arch. Environ. Contam.Toxicol., v. 47, p.
479–488, 2004.
HAMILTON, A. L.; SAETHER, O. A. The occurrence of caracteristc deformities in
the chiromomid larvae of several Canadian lakes. The Canad. Entomolog., v. 103,
p. 363 – 68, 1971.
HARDERSEN, S. The role of behavioural ecology of damselflies in the use of
fluctuating asymmetry as a bioindicator of water poppution. Ecolog. Entomol., v. 25,
p. 45 – 53. 2000.
HELIÖVAARA, K.; VÄISÄNEN, R. Heavy-metal contents in pupae of Bupalus
piniarus (Lepidoptera: Geometridae) and Panolis flammea (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae)
near an industrial source. Environ. Entomol., v. 19, p. 481 – 485, 1990.
HONEK, A.; JAROSIK, V. The role of crop density, seed and aphid presence in
diversification of field communities of Carabidae (Coleoptera). Eur. J. Entomol. v.
97, p. 517 – 525, 2000.
HOLOS Environment, v.10 n.2, 2010 - P. 261
ISSN:1519-8634 (ON-LINE)
KEVAN, P. G. Pollinators as bioindicators of the state of the environment: species,
activity and diversity. Agr. Ecosyst. Environ., v. 74, p. 373 – 393, 1999.
KORICHEVA, J.; HAUKIOJA, E. Effects of air pollution on host plant quality,
individual performance, and population density of Eriocrania miner (Lepidoptera:
Eriocraniidae). Environ. Entomol., v. 26 (6), p. 1386 – 1392, 1992.
LOPES, B. G. C. Levantamento da entomofauna bioindicadora da qualidade
ambiental em diferentes áreas do Alto Jequitinhonha – Minas Gerais. 2008. 47f.
Trabalho de Conclusão de Curso - Escola Agrotécnica Federal de Inconfidentes.
Inconfidentes, Minas Gerais. 2008.
LOUZADA, J. N. C.; LOPES, F. S. A comunidade de Scarabaeidae copro-necrófagos
(Coleoptera) de um fragmento de Mata Atlântica. Rev. Brasil. Entomol., v. 41, n.1,
p. 117–121, 1997.
MARTOS, H. L.; MAIA, N. B.; BROWN-Jr., S. Indicadores Ambientais. Sorocaba,
USP, 266p, 1997.
MEJER, J. D. The influence of ants on seeding operations in Northern Australian
mined areas. Reclam. Reveg. Res. v. 2, p. 299 – 313, 1984.
Influência de faixas de vegetação nativa sobre Coleoptera em Eucalyptus cloeziana.
Rev. Árvore, v. 22, n. 1, p. 77 – 87, 1998.
NESTEL, D.; DICKSCHEN, F.; ALTIERI, M. A. Diversity patterns of soil macro-
coleoptera in Mexican shaded and unshaded coffee Agroecosystems: an implication
of habitat pertubation. Biodivers. Conserv., v. 2, p. 70 – 78, 1993.
FAVILAD, M.; VULINECE, K. Global dung beetle response to tropical forest
modification and fragmentation: A quantitative literature review and meta-analysis.
Biologic. Conserv.. v. 137, p. 1– 19, 2007.
NUMMELIN, M.; HANSKI, I. Dung beetles of the Kibale Forest, Uganda;
Comparison between virgin and managed forest. J. Trop. Ecol, v. 5, p. 349 – 352.
Predatory insects as bioindicators of heavy metal pollution. Environ. Pollut., v. 145,
p. 339–347, 2007.
PECK, S. L.; MCQUAID, B.; CAMPBELL, C. L. Using ant species (Hymenoptera:
HOLOS Environment, v.10 n.2, 2010 - P. 262
ISSN:1519-8634 (ON-LINE)
Formicidae) as a biological indicator of agroecosystem condition. Environ.
Entomol., v. 27, n.5, p. 1102–1110, 1998.
biodiversity loss and the transformation of tropical agro-ecosystem. Biodivers.
Conserv., v. 6, p. 935– 945. 1997.
PETAL, J. Adaptation of ants to Industrial Pollution. Memorabilia Zool., v. 29, p. 99
- 108, 1978.
READ, J. L. Use of ants to monitor environmental impacts of salt spray from a mine
in arid Austrália. Biodivers. Conserv., v. 5, v.12, p. 1533–1543, 1996.
RUBIO, C. E. Estudio comparativo de la fauna de coleópteros (Insecta: Coleoptera)
en dos ambientes de bosque húmedo tropical colombiano. Rev Colomb. Entomol., v.
25 (3-4), p. 131 – 135, 1999.
RUSEK, J. Biodiversity of Collembola and their functional role in the ecosystem.
Biodivers. Conserv., v. 7, p. 1207 – 1219, 1998.
SAUTTER, K. D.; SANTOS, H. R. Insetos bioindicadores na recuperação do solo.
Ciênc. Hoje, 1991.
SERVIA, M. J.; COBO, F.; GONZÁLEZ, M. A. Deformities in larval Prodiamesa
olivacea (Meigen, 1818) (Diptera, Chironomidae) and their use as bioindicators of
toxic sediment stress. Hydrobiol., v. 385, p. 153 – 162, 1998.
SOMMAGGIO, D. Syrphidae: can they be used as environmental bioindicators? Agr.
Ecosyst. Environ., v. 74, p. 343– 356, 1999.
NAVARRETE, H.; ONORE, G.; TSCHARNTKE, T. Biodiversity of land-use
systems in coastal Ecuador and bioindication using trap-nesting bees, wasps, and
their natural enemies. Lyonia. v. 6, n. 2, p.7–15, 2004.
URBINI, A.; SPARVOLI, E.; TURILLAZZI, S. Social paper wasps as bioindicators:
a preliminary research with Polistes dominulus (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) as a trace
metal accumulator. Chemosph. v. 64, p. 697–703, 2006.
WOOD, B.; GILLMAN, M. P. The effects of disturbance on forest butterflies using
two methods of sampling in Trinidad. Biodivers. Conserv., v. 7, p.597– 616, 1998.
Manuscrito recebido em: 10/03/2008
Revisado e Aceito em: 22/12/2010
... expressed by workers (age polyethism) (Carpenter, 1991). Furthermore, they play important ecological roles in pollination, biological control, and as environmental bioindicators (Prezoto & Machado, 1999;Urbani et al., 2006;Rocha et al., 2010;Brock et al., 2021). This is possible due to their different dietary habits throughout their life. ...
Full-text available
Social wasps are model organisms in studies related to evolution and social behavior origin. They show high degree of sinanthropism and due to their feeding habits, they play important ecological roles. However, wasps are considered dangerous, hence their nests are destroyed by humans. The aim of this study was to develop a technique for transferring the nests of some Polybia (Lepeletier, 1836) species located in human constructions to protected places. Nests were removed in the morning blowing ether into the nest entrance and closing them with cotton. They were separated from the substrate with a spatula. Nests were immediately attached to the new substrate with hot silicone glue and installed in the new place. Transferred nests were monitored for one month to verify the efficiency of the technique. Following the transference, individuals kept foraging and repairing/constructing new cells. Workers performing colony tasks are evidence that the technique was efficient and that the colony was adapted to the new local.
... Despite increasing concern regarding the harmful effects of ALAN on humans and other animals [18,[52][53][54], there is still insufficient knowledge regarding its impact on insects, which constitute a major bio-indicator of environmental changes and pollution [55,56]. The ALAN intensities investigated here had been previously reported as prevalent and ecologically relevant in urban environments, affecting the behaviour and ecology of various species [5,9,17,54,57], as well as having a 'sink' effect on flying insects attracted towards street lights [3,18,20,58,59]. ...
Full-text available
Living organisms experience a worldwide continuous increase in artificial light at night (ALAN), negatively affecting their behaviour. The field cricket, an established model in physiology and behaviour, can provide insights into the effect of ALAN on insect behaviour. The stridulation and loco-motion patterns of adult male crickets reared under different lifelong ALAN intensities were monitored simultaneously for five consecutive days in custom-made anechoic chambers. Daily activity periods and acro-phases were compared between the experimental groups. Control crickets exhibited a robust rhythm, stridulating at night and demonstrating locomotor activity during the day. By contrast, ALAN affected both the relative level and timing of the crickets' nocturnal and diurnal activity. ALAN induced free-running patterns, manifested in significant changes in the median and variance of the activity periods, and even arrhythmic behaviour. The magnitude of disruption was light intensity dependent, revealing an increase in the difference between the activity periods calculated for stridu-lation and locomotion in the same individual. This finding may indicate the existence of two peripheral clocks. Our results demonstrate that ecologically relevant ALAN intensities affect crickets' behavioural patterns, and may lead to decoupling of locomotion and stridulation behaviours at the individual level, and to loss of synchronization at the population level.
... They are also the most widely known beneficial insect mostly recognized as pollinators of many plants that feed on nectar using their siphoning proboscis. In present day, butterflies are recognized as a bio-indicator (Rocha et al., 2010), flagship species (Guiney and Oberhauser, 2008) as well as key for ecological hotspot identification (Werner and Buszko, 2005). Butterflies have recognized as being highly sensitive to weather and climate. ...
Full-text available
A polyphenic trait is a trait for which multiple, discrete phenotypes can arise from a single genotype as a result of differing environmental conditions, which is therefore a special case of phenotypic plasticity happened in nature. Polyphenism is a natural phenomenon which supports living organisms to increase the survivability due to camouflaged. Among Satyrinae butterfly, Melanitis leda is a good example which shows this phenomenon. Also this butterfly is considered as a pest of rice in India. It is also pest of important poaceae crops such as maize. However, butterflies are widely known for its beneficial to nature as pollinators and also as bio-indicators due to their climatic sensitivity. M. leda mainly have two different morph i.e., wet season morph and dry season morph. The dry season form of M. leda is considered to be more variable than the wet season form. Dry Season Forms (DSFs) were identified and collected from Galia forest reserve in Barpeta district of Assam for further studies. The presence of distinctive eyespots was found in DSF1 and DSF2. DSF1, DSF2 and DSF3 was found to have positive and significant correlation with temperature and humidity. Whereas, DSF7, DSF9 and DSF10 had significant negative correlation with climatic parameters within the population. Polyphenism was found to be internally controlled by varied protein concentration with higher protein concentration for DSF1, DSF2 and DSF3 i.e. in morphs formed in high temperature and high humidity condition within the overall DSF population.
... Leaf miner species are also mostly monophagous and narrowly oligophagous, so individual plant species or genera have a specific complex of leaf miners [29,30,55]. Some species belong to insect orders, which are commonly used as bioindicators such as Coleoptera and Lepidoptera [58,59]. They are easily collected and analyzed, as they spend their larval stage in one leaf [9,29]. ...
Full-text available
With the process of urbanization, cities are expanding, while forests are declining. Many conditions in the urban habitats are modified compared to those in the rural ones, so the organisms present reactions to these changes. To determine to what extent the habitat type influences insects, we tested the differences in the pedunculate oak (Quercus robur L.) leaf-mining insect community between urban and rural habitats in Serbia. Lower species richness, abundance, and diversity were determined on trees in the urban environment. Due to the differences in the habitat types, many of the species disappeared, while most of the remaining species declined. The seasonal dynamics of species richness, abundance, and diversity differed between the habitat types. Both rural and urban populations started with low values in May. Subsequently, rural populations gained higher species richness, abundance, and diversity. As about 60% of the leaf miners' species present in the rural habitats survive on the trees in urban areas, those trees are of great importance as a species reservoir. This is why we need to preserve and strive to improve the condition of urban areas where the pedunculate oak is present.
Full-text available
Insects, the most varied group of known organisms on Earth, are arousing great interest also for the possibility to use them as a feed and food source. The mass rearing of some species, defined as “bioconverters”, is spreading worldwide, thanks to their sustainability. At the end of the bioconversion process, breeders obtain eco-friendly biomolecules of high biological and economic value, including proteins and lipids, from larvae of bioconverter insects, in particular Hermetia illucens. Besides the most classical use of insect lipids as food additives, they are also used in the formulation of several products for personal care. The composition of insect lipids depends on the substrate on which the insects are reared but also on the insect species, so the cosmetic producers should consider these features to choose their insect starting point. The most abundant fatty acids detected in H. illucens are lauric, myristic, palmitic, and oleic acids, regardless of feed substrate; its fatty acids composition is favorable for soap composition, while their derivatives are used for detergent and shampoo. Here, we offer an overview of insect lipids, their extraction methods, and their application in cosmetics and personal care products.
Full-text available
The exponential increase of global demand for proteins and lipids can no longer be satisfied by classical sources. High amounts of CO2 produced by intensive livestock breeding and its effects on the environment are the main factors that prevent the use of animals as primary sources for proteins and lipids, calling for the use of new sustainable sources, such as insects. The massive breeding of bioconverter insects as a feed source has been a major topic in recent years, with both economic and scientific aspects related to rearing and subsequent processing optimization. The larvae of Hermetia illucens (Diptera: Stratiomyidae) (also known as Black Soldier Fly) can be used for the eco-sustainable production of proteins and lipids with high biological and economic value. Lipids can be obtained from BSF bioconversion processes and are present in high quantities in the last instar larvae and prepupae. Fats obtained from BSF are used as animal feed ingredients, in the formulation of several products for personal care, and in biodiesel production. To enable the use of insect-derived lipids, it is important to understand how to optimize their extraction. Here, we summarize the published information on the composition, the extraction methods, and the possible applications of the BSF lipid component.
Full-text available
The wetland of Naâma situated in the arid region of Alegria offers an important fauna and flora diversity due to its geographical location it constitutes the main resting place in North Africa for migratory birds. Insects are used as bioindicators, due to their sensitivity to environmental conditions which, because of their ecological peculiarities, gives information on the characteristics of terrestrial and aquatic environments. The aim of this study is to know and specify the entomofauna bio-indicator of the quality of the aquatic environment of the wetland Naâma (SW Algeria). The study carried out in the wetland from September 2017 to September 2020. Benthic insects were sampled according to the IBGN protocol (Standard Global Biological Index). Study and statistical analysis of insects communities was based by the use of the structural and statistical index, Correspondence factor analysis (CFA), and The ascending hierarchical classification (C.H.A). The results show that the collected insect 51 species, belong to 9 orders, The Coleoptera order is the most represented with 11 species, followed by the Odonata with six species, Lepidoptera ranks third with five species followed by Diptera with 03 species. The various indicators used, namely the specific richness (51 species), the Shannon index (1.01 bits), and fairness (0.56) show that this environment is characterized by significant fauna biodiversity. The study of the hydro-biological quality of the water courses of this site, assessed by the IBGN method showed a good hydro-biological quality with moderate pollution (IBGN = 14). This pollution is precisely marked by the requirement of Ephemeroptera and the disappearance of Plecoptera. These results lay the foundation for any biomonitoring action of the ecological quality of the waters of this wetland.
The entomofaunas of salty Egyptian environments are reviewed in the present paper according to the available data. Most saltwater habitats were poor with insect fauna. Class Insecta was represented in seven lakes and completely disappeared in two hypersaline lakes, Bitter and Temsah. Chironomid larvae were the most abundant insects in the seven lakes followed by the mosquito larvae, especially in Suez Canal and Wadi El-Rayan. Other aquatic insects include Odonata, Hemiptera, Coleoptera, Trichoptera, and Collembola were represented as extremely low or completely absent. The richness of insect diversity was observed in Burullus and Wadi El-Rayan Lakes as well as the Red Sea coast (swamps and mangroves). It has also been observed that the physical and chemical characteristics of these habitats were changed due to the environmental and climatic changes. Consequently, led to changes in the insect species and other communities. Generally, the data and the studies of insect fauna in Egyptian saltwater are very poor. Also, the taxonomic identification to the level of genus and species is almost non-existent. This paper recommended more studies of insect fauna in these environments with more precise classification.
Environmental monitoring of pesticide exposure is a key element of the holistic study of pesticides’ effects in human and animal health and the environment. The purpose of the current chapter is to present the existing methods for pesticide environmental monitoring, to give basic information on them, and to support the reader with a number of selected references for a more in-depth study of each one. Under the frame of the current chapter refers to exposure through open air, soil, water, and in-house environments meaning residences. In terms of environmental exposure and water, we refer to sea and freshwater, considering the potable water as part of the area of dietary exposure.
Full-text available
Arthropods community structure and composition provides multiscale information about an environment health. Their reproduction and growth model are effective to assess the impact on ecosystem in response to stress such as anthropogenic activities (climate change) or natural (drought). Terrestrial and aquatic insects are potential bio-indicators. Terrestrial insects are an excellent model to assess the quality of terrestrial ecosystem. These insect species are assayed to detect metallic pollution and forest abundance. Soil and litter arthropods are used for examining soil quality. Honey bee mortality rates and the residues such as heavy metals, fungicides and herbicides presence in honey are good indicator of environmental pollution. The specificity of food and habitat selection by wasp population make it suitable for assessing habitat quality. Similarly butterflies habitat itself signifies a healthy ecosystem because of their sensitivity to even slightest change. Different arthropods act as keystone species and these keystone interactions also reveal many facets of an ecosystem quality. Similarly fly population such as Drosophila subobscura and their shift in the genetic composition indicate the global climate warming. The arthropods are explored as screening platform to understand the ecosystem resilience to disturbances. These underscores arthropods potential for evaluation of environmental impact and global climate change.
Full-text available
In 1995-1997, we studied the factors which may influence the ground "activity density" of Carabidae using pitfall traps placed in winter wheat, winter rape and pea stands (1995 only) grown within a 1 km(2) area with uniform physical conditions. The traps were placed in plots of bare ground established within the crops and under surrounding intact plant stands. The communities were similar between crops within years (Pearson's correlation coefficient r = 0.60-0.81), and between years within crops (r = 0.89-0.91), except for the poor winter rape stand in 1997. Factors influencing carabid "activity density" were: (i) Density of cropstand. The carabids preferred crop-shaded ground as long as crop density was low or medium but moved to bare ground plots when crop density became high. Under moderate crop density the preference differed between beetle species, most of which preferred crop-shaded ground while a few ones preferred bare ground. Carabid preferences were probably determined by microclimatic differences caused by presence and density of crop cover. (ii) Presence of seeds dropped on the ground. In rape stands, presence of crop and weed seeds increased the "activity density" of seed predators (species of genera Amara, Harpalus, Ophonus and Pseudoophonus). Scattering of rape seeds significantly increased local activity density of Harpalus affinis and H, distinguendus in the wheat stand. (iii) Presence of aphids. Activity density of Bembidion lampros and Trechus quadristriatus and between-year variation in pooled abundance of the five species recognised as aphid predators was associated with variation in aphid abundance.
Full-text available
El estudio de las mariposas de Colombia en un rango altitudinal comprendido entre los 250 y los 3000 m de altitud, ha permitido describir la distribución local de la comunidad de mariposas en tres ecosistemas: Bosque primario (BP), Bosque secundario (BS) y Zonas perturbadas (ZP). Esta descripción se ha hecho con base en algunas condiciones de parámetros ambientales y gradientes, tales como: altitud, clima y condiciones de alteración de la vegetación. Simultáneamente, se ha descrito la estacionalidad de algunas especies, además de registrar su actividad diurna y comparación de los datos de la vegetación propia de cada área.
Full-text available
Morphological deformities in Prodiamesa olivacea larvae from an urban contaminated site in Santiago de Compostela (NW Spain) are documented and illustrated. Anomalies in this species were compared to those present in Chironomus riparius larvae collected at the same site. Deformity frequencies in months with N ≥ 30 larvae ranged from a low of 2.3% to a maximum of 9.1% for Prodiamesa olivacea, while those for Chironomus riparius ranged from 10% to 37.5%. Due to the increasing interest in using deformities for biomonitoring studies, the ‘Toxic Score’ for Chironomus larvae is utilised with Prodiamesa olivacea. Scoring system results for both species show a significant correlation for data of months with N ≥ 30 larvae of each species. Hence, deformities in Prodiamesa olivacea would be useful for biomonitoring purposes during periods of the year when Prodiamesa is much more abundant than Chironomus, or in other situations when Chironomus is either absent or present in low numbers.
The use of flesh-flies (Diptera, subfamily Sarcophagidae) for large-scale monitoring of several pollutant groups (heavy metals, respirable asbestos fibres, residues of organochlorine pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls) was studied. The experimental territory comparised South and Central Moravia of the Czech Republic, which is known to be the crossway of Ponto-Pannonian, West-Carpathian and East-Hercynian districts. The results show that widely distributed flesh-flies represent a suitable insect taxocoenosis for biomonitoring of pollutants in different kinds of habitats.
ESTUDIO COMPARATIVO DE LA FAUNA DE COLEÓPTEROS (INSECTA:COLEOPTERA) EN DOS AMBIENTES DE BOSQUE HÚMEDO TROPICAL COLOMBIANO EDGAR CAMERO R. Departamento de Biología Universidad Nacional de Colombia RESUMEN La composición faunística de coleópteros en un Bosque Tropical andino fue comparada en zonas de claros y de bosques climácicos. Se estudiaron cinco réplicas para cada tipo de zona empleando trampas pitfall para la captura de los insectos. Las muestras se determinaron a nivel de Familia taxonómica y se aplicó el indice de Margaleff para determinar su riqueza. Se realizaron comparaciones de homogeneidad entre las muestras y comparaciones en cuanto a la composición faunística para los dos zonas aplicada a sus índices de riqueza. No se encontraron diferencias significativas entre las cinco muestras de cada zona ni entre las dos zonas de estudio, pero la composición de familias de coleópteros varía en el bosque en comparación a las zonas de claros. Palabras Clave: Insecta, Coleoptera, Bioedafología, Ecología, Diversidad. Colombia. SUMMARY Coleoptera fauna in a colombian rain forest was compared in gaps and undisturbed forest. Five replicas in each site were studied through pitfall traps to catch its insects. Samples were determines until Family level and Margaleff index was used to determinate family riches. Homogenity between samples were compared and between sites through statistical tests in its rich indexes. Statistic differences between samples and between sites weren´t found but differences in Coleoptera fauna composition in sites were registered. Key Words: Insecta, Coleoptera, Soil biology, Ecology, Diversity, Colombia.
Severely deformed chironomid larvae have been collected in Lake Erie and two lakes in the Okanagan valley of British Columbia. Deformed larvae had very aberrant mouthparts and the head capsules were usually heavily pigmented. In most cases both the head capsule and body wall were many times thicker than in normal specimens. These deformities are apparently caused by pollutants and it is speculated that agricultural and/or industrial chemicals may be responsible.
Ant species assemblages have been used as biological indicators of environmental condition in many different ecosystems. To assess the potential of using ants as environmental indicators of agroecosystem condition, ants were collected from a stratified random sample of agricultural fields planted in annually harvested herbaceous crops at 90 sites in North Carolina and Virginia. The ants were identified to species and correlations with soil, management and crop variables were examined as the 1st step in developing an environmental indicator of agroecosystem condition. A total of 41 species of ants was found. Ant species assemblages were found to differ significantly between the fields and the field margin. Ant species assemblages were correlated with soil variables, tillage practices, and insecticide use, suggesting that ants have potential as a biological indicator of agroecosystem condition.