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Altitudinal effects on habitat selection in dung beetles (Scaraboidea: Aphodiidae) in the northern Iberian peninsula

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>01/1996
Issue number3
Number of pages5
Pages (from-to)313-317
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The effects or vegetation cover on the abundance and species richness of dung beetles (Aphodiidae) were examined in three altitudinal zones: lowland (520–600 m), mid-altitude (950–963 m) and highland (1230–1275 m). Pitfall traps baited with fresh cattle dung were placed in three vegetation types at each altitudinal zone: forest, heathland and pasture. Species richness was lower in forests than in the other vegetation types. The total abundance of beetles also varied with vegetation type, but the effect was dependent on altitude. Number of individuals was higher in pasture at highlands and in heathland and forest at mid-altitude and lowlands. An altitudinal dependence of distribution of individuals between vegetation types was also found for the more abundant species in the study area. These results could be explained if the local distribution of individuals between vegetation types was determined by microcli-matic factors, mainly temperature. Differences in altitude between sites are associated with temperature changes, determining the habitat selection of species at each altitude.