Habitat preference of Geometridae species in Western Black Sea region of Turkey (Lepidoptera: Geometridae)

Preferencia de hábitat de las especies de Geometridae en la región occidental del Mar Negro de Turquía (Lepidoptera: Geometridae)

M. BÖzdemir
Plant Protection Central Research Institute, Turquía

Habitat preference of Geometridae species in Western Black Sea region of Turkey (Lepidoptera: Geometridae)

SHILAP Revista de Lepidopterología, vol. 47, no. 188, pp. 673-684, 2019

Sociedad Hispano-Luso-Americana de Lepidopterología

Received: 10 July 2019

Accepted: 20 August 2019

Published: 30 December 2019

DOI: https://doi.org/10.57065/shilap.495

Abstract: In this study, 3399 specimens belonging to 188 species of the Geometridae (Lepidoptera) family were examined. Species composition and abundance rates of Geometridae communities were analyzed with respect to the plant formations of the region as deciduous forests, dry coniferous-oak forests, humid coniferous forests, pseudomaquis and farmlands. The results also indicates that 26 species in deciduous forests, 23 species in coniferous-oak forests, 20 species in humid coniferous forests, 20 in pseudomaquis and 20 species in farmlands have high abundance rate. The highest rates of abundance in deciduous forests and dry coniferous-oak forests belong to Cyclophora linearia (Hübner, [1799]) with 14,7% and Peribatodes rhomboidaria ([Denis & Schiffermüller], 1775) 13,1%, respectively. Also, the highest rates of abundance in humid coniferous forests and pseudomaquis belong to Scotopteryx moeniata (Scopoli, 1763) with 23,46% and Cyclophora puppillaria (Hübner, [1799]) with 19,83%. Species richness is much higher in deciduous forests than it is in other habitats. Faunal similarities between the Geometridae communities are reported below 50% among all habitats. The highest faunal similarity was found to be between dry coniferous-oak forests followed by the second highest similarity between pseudomaquis and deciduous forests.

Keywords: Lepidoptera, Geometridae, habitat, similarity, Black Sea, Turkey.

Resumen: En este estudio, fueron revisados 3.399 ejemplares que pertenecían a 188 especies de la familia de Geometridae (Lepidoptera). Fueron analizadas y evaluadas la composición de los Geometridae con respecto a las formaciones de plantas de la región como bosques de hojas caducas, bosques conífero-robles secos, bosques coníferos húmedos, bosques de hoja perenne y arbustos de hoja caduca y tierras de cultivo. Los resultados también indican, que las 26 especies en bosques de hojas caducas, 23 especies en bosques conífero-roble, las 20 especies en bosques coníferos húmedos, 20 en bosques de hoja perenne y arbustos de hoja caduca y las 20 especies en tierras de cultivo, tienen ratio de abundancia. Los ratios más altos de la alta abundancia en bosques de hojas caducas y los bosques conífero-roble secos, pertenecen a Cyclophora linearia (Hübner, [1799]) con 14,7 % y Peribatodes rhomboidaria ([D. & Schiff.], 1775) 13,1 %, respectivamente. También, los ratios más altos de la abundancia en bosques coníferos húmedos y bosques de hoja perenne y arbustos de hoja caduca, pertenecen a Scotopteryx moeniata (Scopoli1763) con 23,46 % y Cyclophora puppillaria (Hübner, [1799]) con 19,83 %. La abundancia de las especies es mucho más alta en los bosques de hojas caducas que en otros hábitats. Las semejanzas de Fauna entre las comunidades de Geometridae están por debajo del 50 % entre todos hábitats. La similitud de fauna más alta se ha encontrado en los bosques conífero-roble secos, seguida por la segunda similitud más alta entre los bosques de hoja perenne y arbustos de hoja caduca y los bosques de hojas caducas.

Palabras clave: Lepidoptera, Geometridae, hábitat, semejanza, Mar Negro, Turquía.


The Geometridae is the most species-rich family of Lepidoptera apart from Noctuidae and Pyralidae. There are over 23000 decrypted species known in worldwide (SCOBLE & HAUSMANN, 2007), 900 in Europe (HAUSMANN, 2001) and 608 in Turkey (KOÇAK & KEMAL, 2009). Geometridae is a valuable Lepidoptera family as an indicator group to monitor environmental changes due to its characteristics such as richness in species number, ability to adapt to different habitats, and sensitivity to environmental or human-driven changes in the ecosystem (HAUSMANN, 2001; BREHM, 2002). More importantly, a decrease in the diversity of Geometridae species in an ecosystem is attributed to the environmental changes driven by human factors (BECK et al., 2002).

The study area is located in the western part of the Black Sea of Turkey has a more rugged terrain. In the north, parallel to the sea, the western Black Sea Mountains lie. The Küre Mountains extending parallel to the coast and the Ilgaz Mountains in the south determine the topographic structure of the region. Bartin and Kastamonu provinces in the study area extend along the Black Sea coast. Karabük, another province, is located inside and neighbor to others. All Provinces are located within the borders of the Euro-Siberian region biogeographically. Depending on the climatic changes Oceanic, subMediterranean and Mediterranean, different types of vegetation become dominant from the north to the south of the area. Oceanic climate, which is characterized in low altitudes by humid deciduous forests dominated by Fagus and in high altitudes by humid coniferous forests dominated by Abies and Pinus. Additionally, pseudomaqui regions are discontinuously encountered along the coast of Black Sea. The less oceanic Southern side of the mountains are dominated by relatively dryer forests dominated by Pinus and Quercus and by meadows in clearings (AKMAN, 1990, 1993; DEMIRÖRS & KURT, 2005; AYDINÖZÜ, 2008). The study area, as a whole, encompasses Küre Mountains and Yenice Mountains, which were recognized as forest hot spots by World Wild Fund (WWF) in 1999.

Studies of Geometridae diversity in the western Black Sea Region has been limited. KOÇAK & KEMAL (2009) have reported only ten species from the locations that the present study investigates. Subsequently, AKBULUT et al. (2003), CAN (2008), TOPER KAYGIN et al. (2009), OKYAR (2012) and AKKUZU et al. (2015) have added some new species to the list on top of KOÇAK & KEMAL (2009). SEVEN & ÖZDEMIR (2007) investigated relation between some Butterflies and plant association in eastern part of Black Sea Region of Turkey. OKYAR et al. (2009) have evaluated Heterocera species’ stability in different habitats in the Western Black Sea region using ShannonWiener diversity index. Moreover, SEVEN (2017) has examined habitat preferences of diurnal Lepidoptera species around the Salt Lake in Central Anatolia region using Jaccard Similarity analysis.

This study examines diversity and habitat preferences of Geometridae species in the Western Black Sea Region. Farmlands and natural habitats were compared. In this study, for the first time, analyzes faunal similarities and species transition of Geometridae family across different habitats in this region.

Material and methods

This study was conducted in Bartın, Karabük and Kastamonu provinces in the Western Black Sea region of Turkey. The fieldwork was carried out from May to September between 2008-2012. The samples were collected during periods of no moonlight by means of 8W “black light” fluorescent lamp in farmlands and four other selected areas each displaying separate plant formations. Through the fieldwork, samplings were conducted in five different habitat types four times each month between May and September. A total of 20 samplings for each of the five habitats resulted in 100 samplings in total (Fig. 1). Habitats were characterized based on GÜNAL (2013) and ATALAY (1994). Additionally, HAUSMANN (2001, 2004), MIRONOV (2003), VIIDALEPP (2007), HAUSMANN & VIIDALEPP (2012) and SKOU & SIHVONEN (2015) were consulted during the identification of Geometridae species.

Species whose specimen rate is equal to or greater than 1% were considered to have high abundance rates (DAPKUS, 2004). The species composition of communities were compared using the Bray-Curtis similarity index. Biodiversity Pro 2 software was used for the calculation of species richens, similarity and for forming the diagrams (MCALEECE, 1997) (Fig. 3).

Study area and sampling stations.
Fig. 1.–
Study area and sampling stations.

Description of the study sites

1. Deciduous forest: Hygrophilous forests that cover the Northern side of the Black Sea Mountains. The dominant species along the piedmont is Fagus orientalis Lipsky, Carpinus betulus L., C. orientalis Mill., Alnus glutinosa (L.) Gaertn., Castanea sativa Mill., Quercus hartwissiana Steven., Q. petraea (Matt.) Lebl., Q. robur L., Acersp., Tilia sp., Fraxinus sp., Ulmus sp., Corylus avellane L., Salix sp., Populus tremula L., are also encountered among the forests. The forest ground is covered with Rhododendron ponticum L., R. luteum Sweet, Ilex sp., Vaccinium Arctostaphylos L., Prunus laurocerasus L., Polypodiun vulgare L. and Hedera helix L.

2. Dry Coniferous-oak forests: Forests formed by continental climate enforced by precipitation and temperature trends on the Southern side of Black Sea Mountains. The dominant species in these forests are Pinus Sylvestris L., Pinus nigra J. F. Arnold, Quercus infectoria Olivier, Q. pubescens Willd. and Q. cerris L. There also exist Juniperussp., Berberis crataegyna DC, Paliurus spina-cristi Mill., Pyrus elaeagnifolia Pall., P. amygdaliformis Vill., Prunus microcarpa C. A. Mey, and Crataegus orientalis M. Bied. among the forests.

3. Humid coniferous forests: Forests of coniferous trees that consist of Pinus nigra J. F. Arnold, Abies nordmanniana equi-trojani (Arsch. & Sint. Ex Boiss.) Coode & Cullen and Pinus sylvestris L.

4. Pseudomaquis: Brush formations that extend from the sea level to altitudes of 200-250 m. Pseudomaquis is also seen in areas of 750 m. altitude due to the effect of Black Sea climate that can penetrate through river valleys. The pseudomaquis formation consists of maquis species such as Erica arborea L., Arbutus unedo L., A. andrachne L., Pistacia terebinthus L., Phillyrea latifolia L., Laurus nobilis L., Juniperus oxycedrus L., Cistus salviifolius L., Spartium junceum L., Myrtus communis L., and non-evergreen shrubs such as Cornus sanguinea L., C. mas L., Corylus avellane L., Mespilus germanica L., Crataegus monogyna Jacq., Ligustrum vulgare L. There also exists hygrophilous species indigenous to the Black Sea region such as Rhododendron ponticum L., Daphne pontica L., Laurocerasus officinalis L., Sorbus torminalis (L.) Crantz, among the pseudomaquis formation.

5. Farmlands: Agricultural lands for cereal, sugar beet, rice and garlic cultivation along with orchards and vegetable gardens among residential areas.

Results and discussion

In the present study, 188 Geometridae species are identified from the Western Black Sea region. Distribution of species with respect to habitats: 109 species in deciduous forest (1343 specimens), 96 species in dry coniferous-oak forests (442 specimens), 82 species in humid coniferous forests (520 specimens), 90 species in pseudomaquis (802 specimens) and 65 species in farmlands (292 specimens) (Fig. 2). The deciduous forest is found to be the most species-rich site.

Species-richness comparison of Geometridae communities of the Western Black Sea region according to habitat categorization (i. deciduous forest; ii. dry coniferous-oak forests; iii. humid coniferous forests; iv. pseudomaquis; and v.farmlands).
Fig. 2.–
Species-richness comparison of Geometridae communities of the Western Black Sea region according to habitat categorization (i. deciduous forest; ii. dry coniferous-oak forests; iii. humid coniferous forests; iv. pseudomaquis; and v.farmlands).

When all specimens collected from the sampling stations are considered, abundance rates of 21 species are found to be equal to or greater than 1% (Table 1). The most dominant species within the study area is Peribatodes rhomboidaria (11,06%), which is known as the most widespread species among Lepidoptera communities. Skou (1986) lists forest fringes, brush, field hedges and gardens as the habitat of Peribatodes rhomboidaria. It feeds on various trees and bushes and is prevalent in Europe, Central Asia, the Caucasus, Iran, Turkey, and North Africa. Hence, the reason of the species’ high abundance rate in the study field dominated by forests is thought to be its eurytopic characteristic.

Another dominant species of the region is Cyclophora linearia (6,12%), which displays high abundance rate only in deciduous forest. This species is monophagous on Fagus sylvatica L., or oligophagous (2-3), but clearly preferring Fagus (Fagaceae) (HAUSMANN, 2004). Thus, the reason of the species’ high abundance rate is thought to be the species’ feed preference toward Fagus, which is widely found in the deciduous forests located in Western Black Sea region.

When all Geometridae communities are considered, abundance rate of 26 species is found to be equal to or greater than 1% in deciduous forests. Only 13 species among them are dominant in this habitat (Asthena albulata (4,5%), Cabera pusaria (2%), Campaea margaritata (4,9%), Catarhoe rubidata (1,2%), Cyclophora annularia (1,9%), C. linearia (14,7%), Ectropis crepuscularia (1,1%), Ennomos quercinaria (1,9%), Hydriomena furcata (3,1%), Hypomecis roboraria (1,9%), Macaria notata (5,7%), Plagodis dolabraria (1,6%) and Selenia dentaria (1,8%)).

Subsequently, 24 species are found to be abundant species in the dry coniferous-oak forests (Table 1). Among these species, P. rhomboidaria (13,1%), Scotopteryx luridata (Hufnagel, 1767) (7,2%), Rhodostrophia discopunctata Amsel, 1935 (6,1%), Idaea rufaria (Hübner, [1799]) (6,1%) also prefer other habitats while they have high abundance rates only in dry coniferous-oak forests. Charissa certhiata, Eupithecia intricata, E. semigraphata Scotopteryx coarctaria are reported to be the species that prefer only dry coniferous-oak habitat. It is known that C. certhiata shows prevalence in dry limestone habitats (BESHKOV, 2013). The studied habitat also shows similar characteristics. E. intricata generally feeds on Juniperus sp. (MIRONOV, 2003), which belongs to the species composition of dry coniferous-oak habitat. MIRONOV (2003) also describes the preferred habitat of E. semigraphata as warm and dry, preferably stony slopes, rocks and screes areas, which fits only to the dry coniferous-oak forests studied in the present study. As a xerothermophilous species (HAUSMANN & VIIDALEPP, 2012), S. coarctaria, is recorded from an area fitting to the habitat requirements of the species.

Table 1.–
Distribution ratios of Geometridae species identified from the Western Black Sea region according to habitat categorization.