Species diversity and community structure of rove beetles (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae) attracted to dung of sika deer in coniferous forests of southwest Japan



Insect communities of mammal dung have been known as excellent model ecosystems for scientific study. Ecological surveys of diversity and seasonal patterns of coprophilous rove beetles in relation to wild mammals have rarely been conducted, although the high potential species diversity and abundance of the rove beetles are known. In order to investigate biodiversity of these beetles, we analyzed species composition, abundance, feeding guild and seasonality of rove beetles that were attracted to sika deer Cervus nippon dung by using dung-baited pitfall traps for a 1.5-year study in two plantations (cypress, cedar) and one secondary natural forest (pine) in Fukuoka Prefecture, southwest Japan. Consequently, saprophagous Anotylus sp. (Oxytelinae) was dominant in all forests. Analyses of feeding guild structure showed the number of individuals were dominated by saprophagous beetles, but the number of species were dominated by predatory beetles. Seasonal effects suggested that the species richness and abundance of rove beetles are possibly regulated by scarabaeoid dung beetles. These findings feature one example of a coprophilous rove beetle community.