Scavenging of dead invertebrates along an urbanisation gradient in Singapore


Cedric K. W. Tan, Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, 14 Science Drive, Singapore 117543, Republic of Singapore. E-mail:


Abstract.  1. Little is known about the animals that scavenge invertebrates in the tropics and the impact of human activities on such organisms.

2. We studied the scavenging process using baits representing five dead invertebrate types in six habitats along an urbanisation gradient in equatorial Singapore: primary forest, old secondary forest, young secondary forest, recreational park, mown grassland and impervious surfaces.

3. Ants were the dominant scavengers, except at night in grassland when an earwig (Labiduridae) dominated. In general, the forest sites had more scavenger species and shorter bait survival times than the non-forest habitats.

4. Bait survival time increased monotonically along the urbanisation gradient, suggesting that this parameter could be used as an indicator of habitat quality.