Mordkovich V.G. 2012. How many forest and steppe ground and darkling beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae, Tenebrionidae) are there in West Siberian faunal assemblages? // Russian Entomol. J. Vol.21. No.1: 169–178 [in English].
Institute of Systematics and Ecology of Animals, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Frunze 11, Novosibirsk, 630091, Russia.
Key words: forest-steppe zone, taiga, steppe, tree stand, grass stand, West Siberian Plain, beetles, ecological spectrum, community, species richness, abundance.
ABSTRACT: Zoodiversity of the forest-steppe zone is commonly believed to be resultant of the forest and steppe faunas mixture. According to this notion, the further climate warming is expected to shift the balance between the forest and steppe biotic components towards more aridophilous ones. Many years of terrestrial beetles investigation revealed that their forest-steppe assemblages are dominated by species with polyzonal areas, but having maximal density populations in the forest-steppe zone. Proportion of species with mostly forest and steppe metapopulations does not exceed summarily 30%. The forest-steppe terrestrial beetle assemblages displayed specific ecological group structure dominated by species preferring meadow habitats. Analysis of beetle faunal assemblages’ similarity in respect to ecological group dominance structure revealed four series of phylogenesis in the forest-steppe. Each series begins from the transformation of different archetype coenoses, apparently inherited from the periglacial savanna of the last Glacial period, namely peatlands, park forests, halocoenoses and dry meadows. In course of succession all these coenoses are transformed into a single reference one, i.e. meadow coenosis. Beetle faunal assemblages in the forest-steppe are characterized by the most original and dynamically stable composition and structure, occupying more than 70% of the zonal area with a wide range of habitats. Therefore the meadow coenoses, rather than the fragmentary quasi-steppes and forest-like insular tree stands, represent the indigenous element of the latitudal zone between taiga and steppe. It makes more sense to refer to the corresponding original biome as a meadow, rather than steppe, one.