Diversity, distinctiveness and conservation status of the Mediterranean coastal dung beetle assemblage in the Regional Natural Park of the Camargue (France)

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2001
Authors:J. M. Lobo, Lumaret, J. - P., Jay-Robert, P.
Journal:Diversity and Distributions
Keywords:Don, Dung beetles, insect coastal conservation, Mediterranean region, Scarabaeoidea, the Camargue, ̃ana

The Mediterranean region as a whole has the highest dung beetle species richness within Europe. Natural coastal habitats in this region are among those which have suffered severe human disturbance. We studied dung beetle divers- ity and distinctiveness within one of the most important coastal protected areas in the west Euro- Mediterranean region (the regional Park of Camargue, southern France) and made comparisons of dung beetle assemblages with other nearby Mediterra- nean localities, as well as with other coastal pro- tected area (Doñana National Park, Spain). Our finding showed that: (1) The species richness of coastal habitats in the Camargue is low and only grasslands showed a similar level of species rich- ness and abundance to inland habitats of other Mediterranean localities. The unique habitats of the coastal area (beaches, dunes and marshes) are largely colonized by species widely distributed in the hinterland. (2) In spite of their low general distinctiveness, dune and marsh edges are charac- terized by the occurrence of two rare, vulnerable, specialized and large roller dung beetle species of the genus Scarabaeus. As with other Mediterranean localities, current findings suggest a recent decline of Scarabaeus populations and the general loss of coastal dung beetle communities in Camargue. (3) The comparison of dung beetle assemblages between the Camargue and Doñana shows that, in spite of the low local dung beetle species rich- ness in the Camargue, the regional dung beetle diversity is similar between both protected areas. Unique historical and geographical factors can explain the convergence in regional diversity as well as the striking divergence in the composition of dung beetle assemblages between both territories.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith