Many studies have analyzed the effect of forest fragmentation on dung beetle diversity in tropical landscapes. Few of them, however, have analyzed how forest fragmentation affects the assemblage structure of necrophagous beetles and their removal rates of carrion in tropical forests. This study compares the effect of the time of the day in which carrion is offered to dung beetles (in the morning or at night) on the rates of carrion removal over time (12, 24, and 36 h) in tropical rain forest fragments of different sizes. Fragment size, time, and carrion offer had no effect on carrion removal rates in this study, but these factors affected abundance and species richness of necrophagous beetles. Carrion removal was the highest 12 h after the carrion had been offered. The average rate per hour of carrion removal in all fragments after 12 h was 4.47 g/h, after 24 h was 3.27 g/h, and 36 h later 2.64 g/ h. Carrion removal rates are likely to be affected by beetle abundance and species richness. The most abundant species captured when carrion was offered at night was Coprophanaeus telamon Harold, a nocturnal necrophagous tunneler beetle. When carrion was offered in the morning, the most abundant species was the diurnal copro-necrophagous roller beetle Canthon cyanellus LeConte. Large nocturnal tunneler beetles were only found in large fragments, but small diurnal roller species were abundant in both large and small fragments. Our results suggest that different species contribute unevenly in different ways to carrion removal in tropical forest fragments. Carrion removal is not affected by fragment size per se, but by the fragmentation process.
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