, Volume 13, Issue 1, pp 67-75
Date: 13 Nov 2007

Response of rove beetles (Staphylinidae) to various habitat types and change in Southern Mexico

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We evaluated changes in levels of diversity of copro-necrophilous staphylinids attracted to piles of cattle dung and rat carrion in four contrasting habitats (continuous oak forest, oak forest patches, savannah and ravines) in southeastern Mexico during 2005 and 2006. In total, 181 morpho-species (N = 9,875 individuals) of Staphylinidae were recorded, of which 40 were coprophiles, 98 were necrophiles, and 43 were present in both substrates. Ten species accounted for 65% of the total number of individuals, 68 species were represented by singletons, whereas 103 species registered intermediate abundances. Less disturbed habitats recorded higher levels of beetle diversity. A strong seasonality effect was recorded for necrophiles, but not for coprophiles. A beta diversity analysis suggested that continuous oak forest registered the lowest fauna similarity when contrasted to other habitats; yet beetle composition among oak forest patches, savannah and ravine remained comparable. Staphylinidae body size and trophic guilds differed significantly among habitats. The results of this study suggest that key habitats such as ravines may represent a more permanent and predictable habitat for beetles in highly seasonal landscapes, even at early stages, because this habitat is characterized by a slower turnover of Staphylinidae species than in the case of tropical oak patches or savannah habitats.