Importance of moss habitats for mesostigmatid mites (Acari: Mesostigmata) in Romania


Abstract: This study aimed to characterize the composition of soil mite populations (Acari: Mesostigmata) from 3 moss habitats (rock moss, bark moss, and soil moss). In total, 15 natural forest ecosystems were analyzed (3 deciduous forests, 5 beech forests, 1 fir forest, 5 spruce forests, and 1 mixed forest), from 8 counties in Romania. A total of 240 soil samples, 97 species, and 3018 individuals were analyzed. The samples were taken from April 2012 until October 2013. The highest numerical abundance and species diversity was found in the soil moss, in comparison with bark moss, where the lowest values were recorded. Using statistical analysis, we found a significant effect of habitat type on abundance and species richness, with mite communities grouped into 3 distinct classes. If we take into consideration the high diversity values and the presence of characteristic species (53.59% from the total number of mites from Romania), we conclude that these moss habitats, situated in natural undisturbed forests, are very important from a conservation point of view.

Keywords: Abundance, bark, mite, moss, richness, rock, soil

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