Dung beetle assemblages in forests and pastures of El Salvador: a functional comparison

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2008
Authors:F. G. Horgan
Journal:Biodiversity Conservation
Keywords:carrion, decomposition, deforestation, Diversity-function, functional groups, guilds, Scarabaeidae, tropical pastures

This study examines the functional attributes of Neotropical dung beetles, and, based on the analysis, evaluates the role of dung beetles in pastures and tropical dry forest in El Salvador. Dung beetle diversity was lower in pastures than in forests. However, the total biomass of beetles at similarly-sized dung baits was frequently higher in pastures. Diversity loss followed structured patterns: (1) carrion and fruit feeding beetles were well represented (species number) in the forests but were largely absent from pastures; (2) large ball rollers and small fast tunnellers were present in forests but were absent from pastures; (3) large fast tunnellers and small slow tunnellers were poorly represented in pastures com- pared to forests but the few species that survived in pastures attained extremely high popu- lations; and (4) each functional group in the species-poor pasture assemblages was divided almost equally into day and night active species. Substrate and habitat generalists that were present in both the forests and pastures were attracted to fruit and carrion in forested habitat but not in open pastures. In open habitats, Xies and other insects may be the principal decomposers of decaying fruit and carrion.

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