Are Small Dung Beetles (Aphodiinae) useful for monitoring neotropical forests’ ecological status? Lessons from a preliminary case study in the Brazilian Amazon

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2018
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Neotropical forests are extremely diverse ecosystems, listed within the biological hotspots of our planet. However, species from these forests are threatened by diverse anthropogenic activities. Small dung beetles (Scarabaeidae, Aphodiinae) assemblages were studied within different habitats of the Brazilian Amazon. The monitored habitats encompassed the main gradients of disturbance, from pristine to highly anthropogenic situations, with the aim of supporting their use as indicators of neotropical forests’ ecological status. Additionally, seasonal patterns and bait attractiveness were evaluated in the scope of more effective monitoring studies. Our main results demonstrate that the diversity and distribution of small dung beetles along disturbance gradients, represented by the monitored locations, is associated with particular habitats within the forest landscape. Although spatially and temporally restricted, the results of this study highlight the potential of using small dung beetles, due to their sensitivity and habitat specificity, as ecological indicators for assessing the extent of disturbance in neotropical forest landscapes. We also suggest specific techniques and periods to be used in order to increase captures of small dung beetles within the different habitats.
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Amazon rainforest , Biodiversity , Land use changes , Ecosystem integrity
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Cajaiba, Reinaldo Lucas; Périco, Eduardo; da Silva, Wully Barreto; Leote, Pedro; Santos, Mário. Are Small Dung Beetles (Aphodiinae) useful for monitoring neotropical forests’ ecological status? Lessons from a preliminary case study in the Brazilian Amazon, Forest Ecology and Management, 429, 429, 115-123, 2018.