Impact of pasture development on dung beetle (Coleoptera: Scarabaeinae) community structure in Belize, with first report on Digitonthophagus gazella (Fabricius, 1787)

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Impact of pasture development on dung beetle (Coleoptera: Scarabaeinae) community structure in Belize, with first report on Digitonthophagus gazella (Fabricius, 1787)

Thomas Latha, Azelea Gillet, Giann Vasquez
Int. J. Agron. Agri. Res.13( 1), 84-92, July 2018.
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This is the first reported study on dung beetle community structure in a pasture ecosystem of Belize. Belize is a Mesoamerican nation with over 60% forest cover, but over the past three decades Belize’s forest cover is being threatened by agricultural development. One of the major cause of forest decline in Belize is pasture development done by clear cutting forests for cattle farming. Scarabaeinae dung beetles are important bioindicator organism, used to study the effects of land use on biodiversity. They are coprophagous beetles sensitive to changes in the environment. Species richness, abundance, guild structure and beetle sizes of scarabaeinae beetles in a pasture ecosystem was studied. Abundance and species richness recorded were very low. Small beetles and tunneler guild dominated the assemblage. Onthophagus marginicollis, a small tunneler was the dominant beetle. Digitonthophagus gazella an introduced, invasive species in the Neotropics from Africa was recorded for the first time in Belize. The study showed that dung beetle community structure was negatively impacted in the pasture ecosystem.


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