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Response of dung beetle assemblages to landscape structure in remnant natural and modified habitats in southern Mexico

Authors

  • LUCRECIA ARELLANO,

    1. Departamento de Ecología y Sistemática Terrestre, El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, San Christóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico, and
    2. Departamento de Biodiversidad y Ecología Animal, Instituto de Ecología, A. C., Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico
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  • JORGE L. LEÓN-CORTÉS,

    1. Departamento de Ecología y Sistemática Terrestre, El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, San Christóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico, and
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  • GONZALO HALFFTER

    1. Departamento de Biodiversidad y Ecología Animal, Instituto de Ecología, A. C., Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico
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Lucrecia Arellano, Departamento de Biodiversidad y Ecología Animal, Instituto de Ecología, A. C., Apartado Postal 63, Xalapa, 91000 Veracruz, Mexico. E-mail: lucrecia.arellano@inecol.edu.mx

Abstract

Abstract. 

  • 1To provide reliable tools for landscape management in tropical regions, it is important to recognise the emergent properties of landscape heterogeneity and to understand their influence on different components of biodiversity.
  • 2The effects of habitat type, patch size and shape, canopy cover, distance between habitats, and elevation were examined on the partitioned diversity (alpha, beta and gamma) of dung beetles in a transformed landscape in southern Mexico.
  • 3In total, 4109 individuals belonging to 28 species of dung beetle were recorded in the entire landscape. Alpha diversity was similar among habitats, although species composition was more similar between forest remnants and living fences than between living fences and pastures. Beta diversity was related to differences in elevation and distance between habitats. The distance between fragments was significantly correlated with the mean number of beetle captures and species richness per site. Gamma diversity depended more on species turnover (beta diversity) than on local species richness.
  • 4In general, living fences and pastures with trees, and small forest patches retain a significant proportion of the fauna typically associated with pristine forest habitats. The remaining tracts of forest, along with the contemporary landscape elements may offer suitable habitats for future recolonisation by other insect species in heavily disturbed landscapes in tropical Mexico.

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