A Preliminary Study on the Beetle Fauna in Peat Swamp Forest of Kota Samarahan, Sarawak, Malaysia
The largest peatland in Malaysia is in Sarawak with approximately 1.66 million ha (13%) of total area, distributed widely in Sibu division followed by Sri Aman, Miri, Kota Samarahan, Sarikei and Bintulu. Despite being the most diverse animal species, the study of insects in peat swamp forest, particularly beetles, is still in the incipient stage. Therefore, this study aimed to provide recent information on the beetle species composition in a peat swamp forest of Real Living Lab, UNIMAS (RLL) located in Kota Samarahan. Beetles were sampled for five consecutive days and nights within a seven-day sampling trip in August 2020. Three sampling methods were employed in this study, namely handpicking method (HPM), modified Pennsylvanian light trap (MPLT) and pitfall trapping (PFT). A total of 15 families representing 37 species and morphospecies with 185 individuals were successfully collected. The most speciose family from the beetle assemblages in RLL is Scarabaeidae with eight species collected (21.62%), followed by Curculionidae with six species (16.22%) and Staphylinidae with five species (13.51%). The most abundant family was also represented by Scarabaeidae with 64 individuals (34.59%), followed by Scolytidae with 27 individuals (14.59%) and Carabidae with 23 individuals (12.43%), respectively. This suggests that these families are good candidates as biodiversity indicator of peat swamp forests. This study is still in its preliminary stage; hence it is important to conduct further beetle samplings in future to better understand the potential of beetle as a bioindicator in the peat swamp habitat as an effort to conserve and protect the habitat and the biodiversity that came along with it.
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