Seasonal composition and temporal succession of necrophagous and predator beetles on pig carrion in central Argentina

Authors

  • M. BATTÁN HORENSTEIN,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biodiversity and Ecology, CONICET (Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas), National University of Cordoba, Cordoba, Argentina
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  • A. X. LINHARES

    1. Department of Parasitology, Institute of Biology, University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Campinas, SP, Brazil
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Dr M. Battán Horenstein, Department of Biodiversity and Ecology, CONICET, National University of Cordoba, Cordoba 5000, Argentina. Tel./fax: +54 351 433 2097; E-mail: moira_battan@yahoo.com.ar

Abstract

Insects are the most important components of the terrestrial fauna associated with carrion because they recycle organic matter back into the ecosystem. They can be classified into four ecological categories comprising: necrophages; parasites and predators of necrophagous species; omnivores, and incidentals. To determine the composition and temporal succession of necrophagous and predator beetles on pig carrion, four experiments, one in each season, were carried out during 2004 in a rural area of Cordoba, central Argentina. Two pigs (Sus scrofa L.), weighing approximately 8 kg each, were used in each of the four experiments. The animals were killed by a sharp blow to the head and immediately placed in an appropriate trap. One pig was placed in the shade and the other in direct sunlight. Beetle fauna were collected daily during the first 4 weeks and thereafter every 2 or 3 days. Five stages of decomposition were observed and a total of 1586 adults and 4309 immatures of Coleoptera belonging to the Staphylinidae, Nitidulidae, Cleridae, Dermestidae, Histeridae, Anthicidae and Trogidae families were collected during the four experiments. The necrophagous community was represented by Dermestes maculates (De Geer), nitidulid species and members of the Trox genus. Staphylinidae, Cleridae and Histeridae species were considered to be the main predators of the necrophagous species.

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