Inferring species decline from collection records: roller dung beetles in Italy (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae)

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2007
Authors:G. M. Carpaneto, Mazziotta, A., Valerio, L.
Journal:Diversity and Distributions
Keywords:COLEOPTERA, Conservation biogeography, decline, extinction index, Italy, land use change, Scarabaeidae

The decline of roller dung beetles (Coleoptera, Scarabaeidae) in Italy, at national and regional level, was described using a database of both literature and unpublished data, since the late of 19th century. The probability of finding roller species was assessed for each decade of the 20th century in order to detect changes in their dis- tribution and status. An analysis of decline was performed using a complementary approach of different extinction indexes, according to IUCN criteria. During the 20th century, both the absolute number of records and the UTM cells where roller beetles were found increased clearly as a consequence of the escalation of entomo- logical surveys. Nevertheless, comparing R species (rollers) with all the scarab dung beetles from the first to the last quarter of the 20th century, the relative frequency of roller records decreased by 31%, while the relative number of occupied UTM cells dropped by 23%. Six roller species showed a significant decline in Italy from the first to the second part of the 20th century, and nine in the last 30years. Other two species disappeared from the majority of the northern regions. Finally, the values of all the extinction indexes were strongly correlated and detected a high risk of extinction in Italy for six species. A gradual change in land use during the last three decades, consisting of a reduced extension of grasslands in favour of either intensive agriculture or reforestation after abandonment of livestock raising, was likely the main factor inducing decline and local extinction of roller species.

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