Effects of degradation and replacement of southern brazilian coastal sandy vegetation on the dung beetles (Coleoptera, Scarabaeidae)

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2008
Authors:L. Vieira, Louzada, J. N. C., Spector, S.
Keywords:biological invasion, brazil, coastal ecosystems, Dichotomius geminatus, Dichotomius laevicollis, Dichotomius nisus, Dichotomius schiffleri, Dichotomius semisquamosus, Gromphas lacordairei, insect conservation, Restinga, Scarabaeinae

In this paper we address the effects of anthropogenic disturbance and replacement of Brazilian Coastal sandy vegetation (restingas) on dung beetles communities. We sampled dung beetles in the four main vegetative physiognomies of Guriri Island, Esp ́ırito Santo State: forest restinga, restinga Clusia, disturbed restinga (from burning events), and pastures. We placed four sets of two pitfall traps (baited with horse and human dung) in four independent areas of each vegetation type, and collected 14,534 individuals of 13 dung beetle species. Neither log 10 of individuals nor log 10 of species richness were good predictors of restinga disturbance. However, a significant amount of variation in dung beetle abundance and richness could be explained by bait type. Ordination of these sites using hybrid multidimensional scaling revealed a gradient of habitat disturbance from undisturbed restinga samples to pasture. Dung beetle communities along this gradient demonstrated a complete turnover in species composition, from restinga-specialists to invasive and generalists species respectively. This complete turnover signals the local extirpation of forest-adapted species in disturbed and converted areas. Only a single dung beetle species in preserved restingas is protected by Brazilian law (Dichotomius schiffleri). Given the extent of the clearing of restinga habitat, the conservation status of dung beetles associated with restinga forest gives cause for concern.

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