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Ecología austral

versión On-line ISSN 1667-782X


GONCALVES, Teresa T  y  LOUZADA, Júlio NC. Vertical stratification of carpophilous beetles (Insecta: Coleoptera) in forest fragments in the Southeastern of Brazil. Ecol. austral [online]. 2005, vol.15, n.1, pp.101-110. ISSN 1667-782X.

Fragmentation is one of the most important issues for conservation challenges. Habitat fragmentation results in the interruption of many biological processes that are essential for keeping the structure and functioning of natural ecosystems. The maintenance of habitat structure and its consequences in diversity is highly connected to spatial heterogeneity. There are many studies about spatial heterogeneity of habitats concerning horizontal effects; however, a new focus is given to vertical resource distribution, considering that half of the world´s biological diversity must be sheltered in the canopy. This study was conducted in 4 Atlantic forest fragments near the town of Lavras, State of Minas Gerais, Brazil, and its main objective was to analyze the diversity and vertical distribution of carpophylous beetles (Insecta: Coleoptera) inside and between forest patches. At each forest fragment, beetles were sampled in 2 consecutive days, at 2 distinct points at least 50 m apart. Traps were baited with fermented banana and exposed for 24 h in 4 different strata of the canopy (1.5 m, 4.5 m, 7.5 m and 10.5 m high). A total of 1236 beetles were sampled (86 species from 19 families). The most diverse families were Nitidulidae (26.4% of the species), Staphylinidae (20.7%) and Cerambycidae (9.2%). We observed a significant difference in the vertical distribution of composition of species and structure of the analyzed communities, with the upper stratum presenting a higher species richness and relative abundance. Explanations for the distribution observed are discussed regarding the availability of food resources and microhabitat characteristics. Species distribution among fragments was not homogeneous, being probably the result of the differences present in areas, shapes and conservation levels of the sampled fragments.

Palabras clave : Biodiversity; Canopy; Forest fragmentation; Community structure; Insect ecology.

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