Journal of Insect Conservation

, Volume 20, Issue 6, pp 957–970 | Cite as

Edge and land use effects on dung beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Scarabaeinae) in Brazilian cerrado vegetation

  • Felipe Martello
  • Fernando Andriolli
  • Thamyrys Bezerra de Souza
  • Pavel Dodonov
  • Milton Cezar Ribeiro


The Edge Influence is one of the most pervasive effects of habitat fragmentation, as many forest remnants in anthropogenic landscapes are within 100 m of edges. Forest remnants may also affect the surrounding anthropogenic matrix, possibly resulting in a matrix–edge–remnant diversity gradient for some species groups. We sampled dung beetles in 15 agricultural landscapes using pitfall traps placed along transects in matrix–edge–remnant gradients. The remnants were a native savanna-like vegetation, the cerrado, and the matrix was composed of three human-dominated environments (sugarcane, eucalyptus, pasture). More species were observed in cerrado remnants than in adjacent land uses. Dung beetles were also more abundant in the cerrado than in the landscape matrix of sugarcane and eucalypt, but not of pasture. Dung beetles were severely affected by anthropogenic land uses, and notwithstanding their high abundance in some land uses such as pasture, the species richness in these areas tended to be smaller than in the cerrado remnants. We also found that the influence of the edge was evident only for abundance, particularly in landscapes with a pasture matrix. However, this land use disrupts the species composition of communities, indicating that communities located in cerrado and pasture have a distinct species composition, and that both communities are affected by edge distance. Thus, anthropogenic land uses may severely affect dung beetles, and this impact can extend to communities located in cerrado remnants as well as to those in matrices, with possible consequences for ecological processes such as decomposition and nutrient cycling.


Brazilian savanna Sugarcane Pasture Eucalyptus Akaike’s Information Criterion 



We thank Mateus Fernando de Souza for aid in several phases of the research, especially on species identification; Sean Miki Hieda and Carlos Fonseca for field work support; Prof. Fernando Vaz-de-Melo for aid in species identification, and Megan King for proofreading the manuscript. We also thank the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) for funding this research via a grant to FA, as well as the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) and the Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES) for support granted to FM and PD. MCR receives research grant from CNPq (process 312045/2013-1) and is continually supported by FAPESP (process 2013/50421-2).

Supplementary material

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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Spatial Ecology and Conservation Lab (LEEC), Ecology DepartmentSão Paulo State University, UNESPBela Vista, Rio ClaroBrazil
  2. 2.Post Graduation Program in EcologyNational Institute of Amazon Research – INPAManausBrazil
  3. 3.Applied Ecology and Conservation Lab, Biological Science DepartmentState University of Santa Cruz, UESCIlhéusBrazil

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