Dung beetle communities: a neotropical-north temperate comparison

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Dung beetle communities have been compared across north temperate latitudes. Tropical dung beetle communities appear to be more diverse based on studies using different methodologies. Here, we present results from a standardized sampling protocol used to compare dung beetle communities across five neotropical forests in Brazil and Ecuador and two warm, north temperate forests in Mississippi and Louisiana. Species richness in the tropical forests was three to seven times higher than the temperate forests, as would be expected by studies of other taxa across tropical and temperate latitudes. Average body size in the temperate forests was larger than the tropical forests, as predicted by Bergmann's rule. Dung beetle abundance and volume per trap-day were generally higher in Ecuador than Brazil, and higher in Mississippi than Louisiana, but there were no tropical-temperate differences. Species rank-abundance curves were similar within countries and between countries. Rank-volume distributions indicated a smaller range of beetle body sizes in Ecuador versus Brazil or the USA. Community similarity was high within countries and low between countries. Community differences between Brazil and Ecuador sites may be explained by differences in productivity based on geological age of the soils.

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Neotropical entomology

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