Article

Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 601-615

First online:

Diversity of dung and carrion beetles in a disturbed Mexican tropical montane cloud forest and on shade coffee plantations

  • Lucrecia ArellanoAffiliated withDepartamento de Ecología y Comportamiento Animal, Instituto de Ecología, A.C.
  • , Mario E. FavilaAffiliated withDepartamento de Ecología y Comportamiento Animal, Instituto de Ecología, A.C. Email author 
  • , Carmen HuertaAffiliated withDepartamento de Ecología y Comportamiento Animal, Instituto de Ecología, A.C.

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Abstract

This paper analyzes the diversity of dung and carrion beetles (Scarabaeinae and Silphidae) in four human-induced habitats of a disturbed tropical montane cloud forest: polyspecific shade coffee plantations, monospecific shade coffee plantations, tropical montane cloud forest fragments, and clear cuts. The four habitats had similar richness, species composition, and assemblage structure of dung and carrion beetles. Differences were found in abundance and biomass levels for the four dominant species in the landscape. Dung beetles were more abundant than carrion beetles, but the biomass was higher for the latter. Carrion beetles were seasonal, while dung beetles were clearly not. When forest fragments and shade coffee plantations were compared to other similar habitats in the region, the same general pattern was observed. However, forests with high disturbance and monospecific shade coffee plantations had lower species richness than forests with low and medium disturbance and polyspecific shade coffee plantations. Thus shade coffee plantations maintain connectivity between patches of cloud forest in a landscape that is strongly affected by human activities. Protecting landscape diversity appears to ensure high species richness.

Keywords

Anthropic landscapes Biodiversity Dung and carrion beetles Shade coffee plantations Tropical montane cloud forest Veracruz