Welcome to International Network for Natural Sciences

Paper Details

Research Paper | March 5, 2022

| Download

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

Key Words:

Int. J. Agron. Agri. Res.13(1), 84-92, July 2018

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12692/ijb/20.2.1-20

Certification: IJAAR 2018 [Generate Certificate]


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.


Copyright © 2021
By Authors and International Network for
Natural Sciences (INNSPUB)
This article is published under the terms of the Creative
Commons Attribution Liscense 4.0

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

Alkemade R, Reid RS, Van den Berg M, De leeuw J, Jeuken M. 2012. Assessing the impact of livestock production on biodiversity in rangeland ecosystems. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.

Almeida S, Louzada J, Sperber C, Barlow J. 2011. Subtle land-use change and tropical biodiversity: dung beetle communities in cerrado grasslands and exotic pastures. Biotropica 43, 704-710.

Ardali EO, Tahmasebi P, Bonte D, Milotic T, Pordanjani I, Hoffmann M. 2016. Ecological Sustainability in Rangelands: The Contribution of Dung Beetles in Secondary Seed Dispersal (Case study: Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari province, Iran). European Journal of Sustainable Development 5(3), 133-139. DOI: 10.14207/ejsd.2016.v5n3p133.

Audino LD, Louzada J, Comita L. 2014. Dung beetles as indicators of tropical forest restoration success: Is it possible to recover species and functional diversity. Biological Conservation 169, 248-257.

Belize Agriculture Report. 2017. BAHA Shares Cattle News: National Herd Increases 25%. Issue 38.

Blume RR, Aga A. 1978. Onthophagus gazella: Progress of Experimental Releases in South Texas. Folia Entomologica Mexicana 39-40, 190-191.

Braga RF, Korasaki V, Andresen E, Louzada J. 2013. Dung beetle community and functions along a habitat-disturbance gradient in the Amazon: A rapid assessment of ecological functions associated to biodiversity. PLoS ONE 8(2), e57786. https://doi.org/ 10.1371/journal.pone.0057786

Breshears DD, Nylan JW, Heil CE, Wilcox BP. 1998. Effects of woody plants on microclimate in a semiarid woodland: soil temperature and evaporation in canopy and intercanopy patches. International Journal of Plant Science 159, 1010-1017.

Cambefort Y, Hanski I. 1991. Dung beetle population biology. In: Hanski I, Cambefort Y., ed. Dung beetle ecology, Princeton: Princeton University Press p. 36-50.

CATHALAC. 2011. “Final Report: Central American Land Cover and Land Use Map – Land Cover and Land Use Change 1980-1990-2000-2010.” Regional Program for the Reduction of Vulnerability and Environmental Degradation/CATHALAC. Panama City, Panama.

Cherrington EA, Cho PP, Waight I, Santos TY, Escalante AE, Nabet J, Usher L. 2012. Executive Summary: Forest Cover and Deforestation in Belize, 2010-2012, CATHALAC, Panama City, Panama.

Davis AJ, Holloway JD, Huijbregts H, Krikken J, Kirk-Spriggs AH, Sutton SL. 2001. Dung beetles as indicators of change in the forests of northern Borneo. Journal of Applied Ecology 38, 593-616.

Díaz A, Galante E, Favila ME. 2010. The effect of the landscape matrix on the distribution of dung and carrion beetles in a fragmented tropical rain forest. Journal of Insect Science 10, 1-16. DOI: 10. 1673/031.010.8101

Escobar F. 2000. Diversidad de colepteros coprofagos (Scarabaeidae: Scarabaeinae) en Un mosaico de habitats en la reserva natural Nukak, Guiviare, Colombia. Acta Zoolological Mexicana 79, 103-121.

Estrada A, Coates-Estrada R, Dada A, Cammarano P. 1998. Dung and carrion beetles in tropical rainforest fragments and agricultural habitats at Los Tuxtlas, Mexico. Journal of Tropical Ecology 14, 577- 593.

Favila M, Halffter G. 1997. The use of indicator groups for measuring biodiversity as related to community structure and function. Acta Zoologica Mexicana (n.s.) 72, 1-25.

Feer F. 1999. Effects of dung beetles (Scarabaeidae) on seeds dispersed by howler monkeys (Alouatta seniculus) in the French Guianan rain forest. Journal of Tropical Ecology 15, 129-142.

Fincher GT, Stewart TB, Hunter III JS. 1983. The 1981 distribution of Onthophagus gazella Fabricius from releases in Texas and Onthophagus Taurus Schreber from an unknown release in Florida. The Coleopterists Bulletin 37, 159-163.

Forgie SA, Paynter Q, Zhao Z, Flowers C, Fowler SV. 2018. Newly released non‐native dung beetle species provide enhanced ecosystem services in New Zealand pastures. Ecological Entomology. DOI: 10.1111/een.12513

Galante E, Mena J, Lumbreras C. 1995. Dung beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae, Geotrupidae) attracted to fresh cattle dung in wooded and open pasture. Environmental Entomology 24, 1063-1068.

Ganho NG. Marinoni RC. 2003. Fauna de Coleoptera no Parque Estadual de Vila Velha, Ponta Grossa, Paraná, Brasil. Abundância e riqueza das famílias capturadas através de armadilhas Malaise. Revista Brasileira de Zoologia 20, 727-736.

Garcia-Saqui J, Saqui P, Chicas S. 2011. Identification of Deforestation and Forest Degradation drivers in Belize. Program for the Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Central America and the Dominican Republic. Final Report.

Gardner TA, Barlow J, Araujo IS, Ávila-Pires TC, Bonaldo AB. 2008. The cost-effectiveness of biodiversity surveys in tropical forests. Ecology Letters 11, 139-150.

Gittings T, Giller P, Stakelum G. 1994. Dung decomposition in contrasting temperate pastures in relation to dung beetle and earthworm activity. Pedobiologia 38, 455-474.

Gotelli NJ, Colwell RK. 2001. Quantifying biodiversity procedures and pitfalls in the measurement and comparison of species richness. Ecology Letters 4, 379-391. http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1461-0248.2001.00230.x

Halffter G, Favila ME, Halffter V. 1992. A comparative study of the structure of the scarab guild in Mexican tropical rain forests and derived ecosystems. Folia Entomologica Mexicana 84, 131-156.

Halffter G, Favila ME. 1993. The Scarabaeinae (Insecta: Coleoptera) an animal group for analysing, inventorying and monitoring biodiversity in tropical rainforest and modified ecosystems. Biology International 27, 15-21.

Hernández B, Maes JM, Harvey CA, Vilchez S, Medina A, Sánchez D. 2003. Abundancia y diversidad de escarabajos coprófagos y mariposas diurnas em um paisaje ganadero em El departamento de Rivas, Nicaragua. Agroforesteria em las Americas 10, 29-40.

Hill CJ. 1996. Habitat specificity and food preferences of an assemblage of tropical Australian dung beetles. Journal of Tropical Ecology 12, 449-460.

Horgan F. 2007. Dung beetles in pasture landscapes of Central America: Proliferation of synanthropogenic species and decline of forest specialists. Biodiversity and Conservation 16, 2149-2165. DOI: 10.1007/s10531-006-9145-3.

Horgan FG. 2001. Burial of bovine dung by coprophagous beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) from horse and cow grazing sites in El Salvador. European Journal of Soil Biology 37, 103-111.

Howden HF, Nealis VG. 1975. Effects of clearing in a tropical rain forest on the composition of the coprophagous scarab beetle fauna (Coleoptera). Biotropica 7, 77- 83. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.ecolsys.32.081501.114037.

Hubbard RK, Newton GL, Hill GM. 2004. Water quality and the grazing animal. Journal of Animal Science 82, 255-263.

Jameson ML. 1989. Diversity of coprophagous Scarabaeidae (Coleoptera) in grazed versus ungrazed sandhills prairie in Western Nebraska. Transactions of the Nebraska Academy of Sciences 17, 29- 35.

Kaartinen R, Hardwick B, Roslin T. 2013. Using citizen scientists to measure an ecosystem service nationwide. Ecology 94, 2645-2652.

Klein BC. 1989. Effects of forest fragmentation on dung and carrion beetle communities in central Amazonia. Ecology 70, 1715-1725.

Korasaki V, Braga RF, Zanetti R. 2013. Conservation value of alternative land-use systems for dung beetles in Amazon: valuing traditional farming practices. Biodiversity Conservation 22, 1485-1499. DOI: 10.1007/s10531-013-0487-3

Latha T, Huang P, Perez GA, Paquiul IO. 2016. Dung beetle assemblage in a protected area of Belize: A study on the consequence of forest fragmentation and isolation. Journal of Entomology and Zoology studies 4(1), 2016, 457-463.

Latha T, Hyde B, Rhaburn S, Wiltshire J. 2018. Effects of habitat types on dung beetle (Coleoptera: Scarabaeinae) community structure in a protected area of Central Belize. International journal of Current Advanced Research 7(8D), 14798-14804.

Latha T, Young E, Salazar D, Caballero C. 2016. Effects of anthropogenic disturbance on dung beetle (Coleoptera, Scarabaeinae) community structure in the Central Belize corridor, Belize. IOSR Journal of Environmental Science, Toxicology and Food Technology (IOSR-JESTFT) 10(7), 24-30.

Laurance WF, Camargo JLC, Luiza˜o RCC. 2011. The fate of Amazonian forest fragments: a 32-year investigation. Biological Conservation 144, 56- 67. DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2010.09.021

Lee CM, Wall R. 2006. Cow-dung colonization and decomposition following insect exclusion. Bulletin of Entomological Research 96, 315-322.

Louzada JNC, Carvalho e Silva PR. 2009. Utilization of introduced Brazilian pastures ecosystems by native dung beetles: diversity patterns and resource use. Insect Conservation and Diversity 2, 45-52.

Marsh CJ, Louzada J, Beiroz W, Ewers RM. 2013. Optimising Bait for Pitfall Trapping of Amazonian Dung Beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeinae). PLOS ONE 8(8), e73147. https://doi.org/10.1371/ journal.pone.0073147

Martínez-Garza C, González-Montagut R. 1999. Seed rain from forest fragments into tropical pastures in Los Tuxtlas, Mexico. Plant Ecology 145, 255-265.

Noriega JA, Delgados O, Blanco JI, Gamez J, Clavijo J. 2017. Introduction, establishment, and invasion of Digitonthophagus gazella (Fabricius, 1787) (Coleoptera: Scarabaeinae) in the savannas of Venezuela and Colombia. Natural Resources 8, 370- 381. DOI: 10.4236 /nr.2017.85023

Numa C, Verdu JR, Rueda C, Galante E. 2012. Comparing dung beetle species assemblages between protected areas and adjacent pasturelands in a Mediterranean savanna landscape. Rangeland Ecology Management 65, 137-143.

Osberg DC, Doube BN, Hanrahams SA. 1994. Habitat specificity in African dung beetles: The effect of soil type on the survival of dung beetle immatures (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae). Tropical Zoology 7, 1-10.

Piccini I, Arnieri F, Caprio E, Nervo B, Pelissetti S. 2017. Greenhouse gas emissions from dung pats vary with dung beetle species and with assemblage composition. PLOS ONE 12(7), e0178077. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0178077

Ridoutt BG, Sanguansri P, Harper GS. 2011. Comparing carbon and water footprints for beef cattle production in southern Australia. Sustainability 3, 2443-2455.

Scheffler PY. 2005. Dung beetle (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) diversity and community structure across three disturbance regimes in eastern Amazonia. Journal of Tropical Ecology 21, 9-19.

Silva RJ, Coletti F, Costa DA, Vaz-de-Mello FZ. 2014. Dung beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Scarabaeinae) of forests and pastures of southwestern Brazilian Amazon: Survey of species and feeding guilds. Acta Amazonica 44, 345-352.

Slade EM, Riutta T, Roslin T, Tuomisto HL. 2016. The role of dung beetles in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from cattle farming. Scientific Reports 6, 18140.

Spector S, Ayzama S. 2003. Rapid turnover and edge effects in dung beetle assemblages (Scarabaeidae) at a Bolivian Neotropical forest-savanna ecotone. Biotropica 35, 394- 404. DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7429.2003.tb00593.x

Tonelli M, Verdú JR, Zunino M. 2017. Effects of grazing intensity and the use of veterinary medical products on dung beetle biodiversity in the sub-mountainous landscape of Central Italy. PeerJ 5, e2780. DOI: 10.7717/peerj.2780

Verberk W. 2011. Explaining general patterns in species abundance and distributions. Nature Education Knowledge 3(10), 38.

Vergé XPC, Dyer JA, Desjardins RL, Worth D. 2008. Greenhouse gas emissions from the Canadian beef industry. Agricultural Systems 98, 126-134.

Wildlife Conservation Society. 2017. People and wildlife now threatened by rapid destruction of Central America’s forests: ‘Human Footprint and Cow’s Hoofprint’ report shows illegal cattle ranching is responsible for more than 90 percent of forest loss in remaining wildlife strongholds. Science Daily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/07/170726091543.htm

Wright S. 2010. The future of tropical forest species. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1195, 1-27.


Style Switcher

Select Layout
Chose Color
Chose Pattren
Chose Background