Effects of environmental parameters on beetle assemblage in a fragmented tropical rainforest of South America

  • Renato P. SalomãoEmail author
  • Lucas C. Brito
  • Luciana Iannuzzi
  • André F. A. Lira
  • Cleide M. R. Albuquerque


As a result of habitat fragmentation, the environmental structures of forest remnants change and alter their microclimatic conditions. Edaphic beetles comprise several families that are considered effective bioindicators. In this study, we analyzed how environmental parameters and fragment size affect edaphic beetle assemblage in a fragmented rainforest landscape in Brazil. Beetles were sampled in 12 forest fragments using pitfall traps. Fragment size, tree density and diameter, litter depth and dry weight, and canopy cover were measured in each forest fragment. Staphylinidae and Carabidae were the beetle families with the highest species richness, whereas Scarabaeidae and Nitidulidae were the most abundant families. Beetle abundance was positively affected by litter dry weight and fragment size. In addition, species composition was significantly affected by fragment area. In conclusion, forest patch size is an important parameter for maintaining edaphic beetle assemblages in tropical rainforests, causing major shifts in its abundance and species distribution.


Bioindicator Edaphic Coleoptera Environmental disturbance Habitat structure 



We thank to Trapiche sugarcane processing plant for infrastructure, logistic support, and for authorizing our fieldwork. We would like to thank M Hernández-López for comments on earlier versions of the manuscript and to AM DeSouza for their statistical assistance. We also thank “Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior” (CAPES) for a doctoral scholarship to AFA Lira and a master’s scholarship to LC Brito. We also thank “Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología” (CONACYT) for a doctoral scholarship to RP Salomão and “Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico” (CNPq) for providing PQ2 research grant (Fellowship #307759/2015-6) to CMR Albuquerque.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The experimentation was non-invasive and complied with Brazilian law (SISBIO/ICMBIO Permit Number: 1982628). At the end of the experiment, the specimens were deposited in the Entomological Collection of the Universidade Federal de Pernambuco following standard procedures, and there are no conflicts of interest (financial and non-financial).

Research involving human and animal participants

No human participants were used in this study; thus, no informed consent was required.

Supplementary material

10841_2018_120_MOESM1_ESM.doc (50 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 50 KB)
10841_2018_120_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (14 kb)
Supplementary material 2 Patch and landscape metrics, microenvironmental parameters, species richness and abundance of beetles in the Atlantic forest fragments in Usina Trapiche, Pernambuco, Brazil (XLSX 13 KB)


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Red de EcoetologíaInstituto de Ecología A. C.XalapaMexico
  2. 2.Programa de Pós-Graduação em Diversidade Biológica e Conservação nos Trópicos, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas e da SaúdeUniversidade Federal de AlagoasMaceióBrazil
  3. 3.Programa de Pós-Graduação em Biologia Animal, Depto de ZoologiaUniversidade Federal de PernambucoRecifeBrazil

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