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Necrophilous Insect Dynamics at Small Vertebrate Carrion in a Temperate Eucalypt Woodland

Barton, Philip; Evans, Maldwyn; Pechal, Jennifer L.; Benbow, M. Eric

Description

Insects associated with carrion are critical to the decomposition process and nutrient cycling in ecosystems. Yet the communities of insects associated with carrion vary between locations, and detailed case studies are necessary for identifying differences and similarities among contrasting habitats. In this study, we examined temporal changes in the crawling insect community collected from rabbit carcasses placed in contrasting grassland and tree habitats in southeastern Australia. We...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorBarton, Philip
dc.contributor.authorEvans, Maldwyn
dc.contributor.authorPechal, Jennifer L.
dc.contributor.authorBenbow, M. Eric
dc.date.accessioned2021-08-17T23:52:15Z
dc.identifier.issn0022-2585
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/243992
dc.description.abstractInsects associated with carrion are critical to the decomposition process and nutrient cycling in ecosystems. Yet the communities of insects associated with carrion vary between locations, and detailed case studies are necessary for identifying differences and similarities among contrasting habitats. In this study, we examined temporal changes in the crawling insect community collected from rabbit carcasses placed in contrasting grassland and tree habitats in southeastern Australia. We collected 18,400 adult insects, including 22 species of fly, 57 species of beetle, and 37 species of ant. We found significant effects of habitat type and time, but not their interaction, on the composition of the entire insect community. Several ant species showed early and rapid colonization and highest abundances during early stages of decay, including Iridomyrmex purpureus (Smith, 1858) under trees, and Iridomyrmex rufoniger (Lowne, 1865) and Rhytidoponera metallica (Smith, 1858) in grassland. We found that most fly species showed highest abundance during active decay, but Chrysomya varipes (Macquart 1851) was more abundant under trees than in grassland during this time. Beetles peaked during active or advanced decay stages, with Saprinus and Omorgus the most abundant genera. Our study demonstrates that strong replication of contrasting environmental treatments can reveal new information on habitat preferences of important carrion insect species. The numerical dominance of ants early in decomposition has implications for insect community structure via potential competitive interactions with flies, and should be more rigorously examined in future carrion studies.
dc.description.sponsorshipThis project was funded by an Australian Research Council grant to Philip Barton (DE150100026).
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdf
dc.language.isoen_AU
dc.publisherEntomological Society of America
dc.rights© The Authors 2017
dc.sourceJournal of Medical Entomology
dc.subjectcarcass
dc.subjectDiptera
dc.subjectChrysomya
dc.subjectColeoptera
dc.subjectFormicidae
dc.titleNecrophilous Insect Dynamics at Small Vertebrate Carrion in a Temperate Eucalypt Woodland
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.identifier.citationvolume54
dc.date.issued2017
local.identifier.absfor060202 - Community Ecology
local.identifier.ariespublicationu4279067xPUB2076
local.publisher.urlhttp://www.oxfordjournals.org/
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationBarton, Philip, College of Science, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationEvans, Maldwyn, College of Science, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationPechal, Jennifer L., Michigan State University
local.contributor.affiliationBenbow, M. Eric, Michigan State University
local.description.embargo2099-12-31
dc.relationhttp://purl.org/au-research/grants/arc/DE150100026
local.bibliographicCitation.issue4
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage964
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage973
local.identifier.doi10.1093/jme/tjw242
local.identifier.absseo960806 - Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity
dc.date.updated2020-11-23T10:51:55Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-85017884964
local.identifier.thomsonID000405349000021
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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