Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Relationships between soil macroinvertebrates and nonnative feral pigs (Sus scrofa) in Hawaiian tropical montane wet forests

October 28, 2019

Nonnative feral pigs (Sus scrofa) are recognized throughout the New World as a highly significant introduced species in terms of ecosystem alteration. Similarly, nonnative soil macroinvertebrates (e.g. earthworms, ground beetles) invade and alter the structure and function of native habitats globally. However, the relationship between feral pigs and soil macroinvertebrates remains largely unknown. This study analyzed relationships between these taxa using nine sites located inside and outside of feral pig management units representing a ~ 25 year chronosequence of removal in tropical montane wet forests in Hawai‘i. Soil macroinvertebrates were sampled from plots categorized as: actively trampled by feral pigs, actively rooted by feral pigs, feral pigs present with no signs of recent activity, or feral pigs removed over time. In total, we found 13 families of primarily nonnative soil macroinvertebrates. Plots with active trampling correlated with lower total macroinvertebrate abundance, biomass, and family richness. Plots with active rooting were correlated with higher abundance of nonnative earthworms (Lumbricidae and Megascolicidae) and ground beetles (Carabidae). The abundance, biomass, and biodiversity of macroinvertebrates did not vary with time since feral pig removal. Collectively, these results indicate: (1) trampling by feral pigs negatively influences soil macroinvertebrates; (2) feral pigs either modify habitats while rooting thereby facilitating earthworm and ground beetle habitat use or selectively seek out target prey species of soil macroinvertebrates; and (3) removal of feral pigs has minimal impacts on soil macroinvertebrates over time. These results are important globally due to the broadly overlapping ranges of S. scrofa and nonnative macroinvertebrates.

Publication Year 2019
Title Relationships between soil macroinvertebrates and nonnative feral pigs (Sus scrofa) in Hawaiian tropical montane wet forests
DOI 10.1007/s10530-019-02117-3
Authors Nathaniel H. Wehr, Creighton M Litton, Noa K Lincoln, Steve C. Hess
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Biological Invasions
Index ID 70210233
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center