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Dung and carrion beetles in tropical rain forest fragments and agricultural habitats at Los Tuxtlas, Mexico

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 September 1998

Alejandro Estrada
Estación de Biología ‘Los Tuxtlas’, Instituto de Biología – UNAM, Apartado Postal 176, San Andrés Tuxtla, Veracruz, México.
Rosamond Coates-Estrada
Estación de Biología ‘Los Tuxtlas’, Instituto de Biología – UNAM, Apartado Postal 176, San Andrés Tuxtla, Veracruz, México.
Alberto Anzures Dadda
Instituto de Historia Natural, Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, México.
Pierluigi Cammarano
Dipartimento di Biologia, Universita degli Studi di Milano, Milano, Italy.


At Los Tuxtlas, Mexico, presence of dung and carrion beetles, were sampled using baited pitfall traps, at the following habitats: isolated forest fragments, forest edges, plantations (coffee, cacao, mixed, citrus and allspice), live fences and pastures. A total of 14,269 beetles representing 36 species were captured. Onthophagus batesi, Canthon femoralis, Canthidium centrale, Copris laeviceps, O. rhinolophus and Deltochilium pseudoparile accounted for 75% of the captures in the overall sample from 79 sites. Across forest fragments capture rates of species and individuals were associated positively to area and negatively to isolating distance. Rarefaction analysis showed that forest fragments were the most species-rich habitats followed by the mixed and cacao plantations, the forest edge, live fences and coffee, citrus and allspice plantations. Pastures were the least species-rich habitat. Horizontal and vertical diversity of the vegetation at the habitats studied influenced the species richness of dung and carrion beetles and the number of species in common between forest fragments and human-made habitats. A significant relationship existed between the number of non-flying mammals recorded at the study sites and the richness of species and individuals of dung beetles at the habitats investigated. The relevance of this information is discussed in the light of the ecological flexibility of dung and carrion beetle species and of possible conservation scenarios involving landscapes in which isolation of forest fragments is reduced by the presence in open areas of human-made vegetation such as plantations of cacao, coffee, cacao and coffee and live fences.

Research Article
© 1998 Cambridge University Press

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