Response of dung beetle assemblages to landscape structure in remnant natural and modified habitats in Southern Mexico

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2008
Authors:L. Arellano, Leon-Cortes, J. L., Halffter, G.
Journal:Insect Conservation and Diversity
Keywords:Alpha and beta diversity, biodiversity, indicator groups, landscape management, living fences, pastures, Scarabaeinae, tropical dry forest.

1. To provide reliable tools for landscape management in tropical regions, it is important to recognise the emergent properties of landscape heterogeneity and to understand their influence on different components of biodiversity. 2. The effects of habitat type, patch size and shape, canopy cover, distance between habitats, and elevation were examined on the partitioned diversity (alpha, beta and gamma) of dung beetles in a transformed landscape in southern Mexico. 3. In total, 4109 individuals belonging to 28 species of dung beetle were recorded in the entire landscape. Alpha diversity was similar among habitats, although species com- position was more similar between forest remnants and living fences than between living fences and pastures. Beta diversity was related to differences in elevation and distance between habitats. The distance between fragments was significantly correlated with the mean number of beetle captures and species richness per site. Gamma diversity depended more on species turnover (beta diversity) than on local species richness. 4. In general, living fences and pastures with trees, and small forest patches retain a significant proportion of the fauna typically associated with pristine forest habitats. The remaining tracts of forest, along with the contemporary landscape elements may offer suitable habitats for future recolonisation by other insect species in heavily disturbed landscapes in tropical Mexico.

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