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Using dung beetles to evaluate the conversion effects from native to introduced pasture in the Brazilian Pantanal

de Albuquerque Correa, César Murilo, Puker, Anderson, Ferreira, Kleyton Rezende, Cristaldo, Cleilsom Melgarejo, Ferreira, Felipe Nery Freitas, Abot, Alfredo Raúl, Korasaki, Vanesca
Journal of insect conservation 2016 v.20 no.3 pp. 447-456
bait traps, cattle manure, dead animals, dry season, dung beetles, ecosystems, feces, freshwater, grasslands, humans, indigenous species, insect communities, introduced species, land use, landscapes, livestock production, pastures, pitfall traps, species diversity, tropics, wet season, wetlands, Brazil, Pantanal
The Pantanal is the largest Neotropical seasonal freshwater wetland on Earth. Extensive livestock production has been the dominant economic land use activity of the Pantanal, where approximately 80 % of the land is occupied by native and introduced pastures. However, the impact of native pasture conversion into introduced pasture on the biodiversity of this biome is little understood. Here we evaluate the effect of native pasture to introduced pasture conversion on dung beetle communities. We sampled dung beetles in July 2011 (dry season) and January 2012 (rainy season), at four native pasture sites and four introduced pasture sites in Aquidauana, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. The sampling was carried out using pitfall traps baited with three different bait types: carrion, cattle dung, and human feces. We sampled 7086 individuals, belonging to 32 species of 16 genera and six tribes of dung beetles. The abundance was similar among the pasture types. However, a higher species richness was found on the native pasture. Species composition also differed between the two pasture types in each sampling season. Additionally, the dominant functional guilds were different in the two landscapes. The result shows that the conversion of native grasslands into introduced pasture results in a decrease of species number and changes in species composition. These findings highlight the importance on native pasture to the conservation of dung beetle biodiversity in this ecosystem.