Can dung beetles (Scarabaeinae) indicate the status of Amazonia’s ecosystems? Insights integrating anthropogenic disturbance with seasonal patterns

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Temporal and spatial variation in dung beetles abundances is a pattern observed in many tropical forests. The present study evaluated the seasonal patterns of dung beetles in a range of increasingly disturbed ecosystems of the state of Pará, northern Brazil, to identify valuable disturbance indicators. The areas included native forest, agriculture, pasture for extensive livestock grazing and secondary forests. Fieldwork was carried out encompassing the complete range of environmental conditions encountered during the year. In total, 13,649 individuals were captured within 23 genera and 99 species but with pronounced differences among ecosystems and seasons. The obtained results seem to demonstrate that dung beetles can be used to help identify ecosystems under very complex and variable environmental conditions. The ecological drift observed also demonstrates the possibility of using dung beetles as ecological indicators of disturbance in Amazonia.

Can dung beetles (Scarabaeinae) indicate the status of Amazonia’s ecosystems? Insights integrating anthropogenic disturbance with seasonal patterns

in Animal Biology



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    Location of the study sites in the municipality of Uruará, state of Pará, northern Brazil. Abbreviations: Ag, agriculture; ES, early secondary succession; MS, mature secondary succession; NV, native vegetation; Pa, pasture.

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    (A) Abundance (number of individuals ± SE), and (B) richness (number of species ± SE) of the DB community in the different ecosystems considered. The values labelled with the same letters are not significantly different according to the Tukey post-hoc test. Abbreviations: Ag, agriculture; ES, early secondary succession (vegetation with five years of regeneration); MS, mature secondary succession (vegetation with 15 years of regeneration); NV, native vegetation; Pa, pasture.

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    (A) Abundance (number of individuals ± SE) and (B) richness (number of species ± SE) of dung beetles in different periods of sampling in the Brazilian Amazon. The values labelled with the same letters are not significantly different according to the Tukey post-hoc test. Abbreviations: D, dry; I, intermediary; R, rainy.

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    Temporal variation of the abundance and richness of dung beetles by ecosystem. The values followed by the same letters are not significantly different according to the Tukey post-hoc test. Abbreviations: D, dry; I, intermediary; R, rainy.

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    Bray-Curtis similarity index for the different habitats and season sampled (cophenetic correlation coefficient = 0.85). Abbreviations: Ag, agriculture; D, dry; ES, early secondary succession (vegetation with five years of regeneration); I, intermediary; MS, mature secondary succession (vegetation with 15 years of regeneration); NV, native vegetation; Pa, pasture; R, rainy.


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