Diversity of dung and carrion beetles in a disturbed Mexican tropical montane cloud forest and on shade coffee plantations

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2005
Authors:L. Arellano, Favila, M. E., Huerta, C.
Journal:Biodiversity and Conservation
Keywords:anthropogenic change, biodiversity, carrion beetles, dung beetle, fragmentation, modification (biological conservation 2007), shade coffee plantations, tropical montane cloud forest, Veracruz

This paper analyzes the diversity of dung and carrion beetles (Scarabaeinae and Silphidae) in four human-induced habitats of a disturbed tropical montane cloud forest: polyspecific shade coffee plantations, monospecific shade coffee plantations, tropical montane cloud forest fragments, and clear cuts. The four habitats had similar richness, species composition, and assemblage structure of dung and carrion beetles. Differences were found in abundance and biomass levels for the four dominant species in the landscape. Dung beetles were more abundant than carrion beetles, but the biomass was higher for the latter. Carrion beetles were seasonal, while dung beetles were clearly not. When forest fragments and shade coffee plantations were compared to other similar habitats in the region, the same general pattern was observed. However, forests with high disturbance and monospecific shade coffee plantations had lower species richness than forests with low and medium disturbance and polyspecific shade coffee plantations. Thus shade coffee plantations maintain connectivity between patches of cloud forest in a landscape that is strongly affected by human activities. Protecting landscape diversity appears to ensure high species richness.

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