Pseudoscorpions in field margins: Effects of margin age, management and boundary habitats
Bell JR., Gates S., Haughton AJ., Macdonald DW., Smith H., Wheater CP., Cullen WR.
Pseudoscorpions (Chthonius ischnocheles (Hermann) and C. orthodactylus (Leach) sensu strictus) were collected using a D-Vac over two-years from 60 field margins at Oxford University farm at Wytham, U.K. Old and new grassland margins were subjected to six different treatments involving spraying, non-intervention and four different cutting intensities. Significantly more pseudoscorpions were found in old compared to new margins, suggesting they may be attracted to litter build-up over time. Pseudoscorpion numbers were reduced on treatments subjected to two cuts annually, particularly when a summer cut was included, although this effect was ameliorated when the cuttings were left. However, pseudoscorpions were most numerous on treatments which involved no management because of the increase in leaf litter which may replicate a woodland environment. Adjacent hedges appear to buffer the effects of management: margins with adjacent hedges (rather than ditches or tracks) having more individuals. In contrast to results for other invertebrate groups, sowing wildflower seed did not significantly increase the abundance of pseudoscorpions. The effect of different treatments on pseudoscorpion numbers demonstrates that they are useful indicators of the effects of management practice.