Zoological Studies

Vol. 53, 2014

Effects of pine invasion on land planarian communities in an area covered by Araucaria moist forest

Simone Machado de Oliveira1, Piter Kehoma Boll1, Vanessa dos Anjos Baptista1,2 and Ana Maria Leal-Zanchet1*

1Graduate Program in Diversity and Management of Wildlife and Institute for Planarian Research, Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos - UNISINOS, Av. Unisinos, 950, Cristo Rei, São Leopoldo, RS 93022-000, Brazil
Universidade Regional Integrada - URI, Av. Batista Bonotto Sobrinho, Santiago, RS 99700-000, Brazil

Background: Cultivation of exotic pine species has increased in areas of Araucaria moist forest, which is an ecosystem with high biological diversity. Land planarians are generally susceptible to replacement of natural habitat by exotic tree species plantations. However, how planarian communities respond to the invasion of exotic species in natural habitats is unknown: (1) Are there differences in richness and abundance of land planarians between sitesof Araucaria moist forest with (AMF-P) and without (AMF) pine trees and between these areas and pine plantations (P)? (2) Does the species composition of land planarians vary among AMF, AMF-P, and P?
This study shows that mean richness and abundance of land planarians per sample unit are higher in AMF sites than AMF-P sites. In addition, AMF sites have a higher estimated richness per sample unit than pine plantations and AMF-P sites. In AMF-P sites, mean richness and abundance are higher in sample units not influenced by pine trees than in those with pine needles. An ordination analysis indicated that the communities of each site aredistinct, especially the communities of the AMF and P sites.
Conclusions: The present work demonstrated negative impacts from a recent invasion of an exotic species of pine on the richness and abundance of land planarians in a site of Araucaria moist forest and significant variation in theplanarian community composition between sites of Araucaria moist forest and pine plantation.

Key words: Community structure; Species composition; Flatworms; Exotic species; Conservation.

*Correspondence: E-mail: zanchet@unisinos.br