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Short-term temporal variability in the abundance of tropical dung beetles


Ellen Andresen, Centro de Investigaciones en Ecosistemas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Antigua Carretera a Pátzcuaro 8701, Colonia Ex-Hacienda de San José de la Huerta, Morelia, C.P. 58190, Michoacán, México. E-mail:



  • 1Dung beetles are increasingly being used as a focal taxon in biodiversity and conservation studies. One of the alleged advantages of these insects is that sampling conducted in a few days can yield accurate data.
  • 2Dung beetles were collected twice, within a week, in a tropical dry forest in Mexico. The abundance of one species, Onthophagus landolti, increased 16 times in one of the habitats, over a period of a few days. Consequently, conclusions regarding differences between both habitats differed greatly depending on which sampling period was considered.
  • 3Short-term temporal variability in the abundance of dung beetles, particularly if spatially asymmetric, must carefully be considered when designing sampling protocols for this group of insects in dry tropical forests.
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