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27 June 2017 Contrasting Influence of Natural Nighttime Illumination on Capture Rates of the American Burying Beetle and Roundneck Burying Beetle (Coleoptera: Silphidae)
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Abstract

The nocturnal American burying beetle (Nicrophorus americanus Olivier, 1790; Silphidae), once widely distributed in the eastern United States, is currently listed as endangered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The factors driving its decline remain largely unknown. Curiously, a closely related and ecologically similar burying beetle, the roundneck burying beetle (Nicrophorus orbicollis Say, 1825), remains abundant and widespread. We used two sets of trapping data from Nebraska and Oklahoma, USA to examine the effects of moon phase and weather on capture rates of the two species. We found that on nights with few clouds, increasing moonlight levels reduced captures of American burying beetles in baited pitfall traps at both sites. In Nebraska, cloud cover reversed the association between moon phase and capture rate (regression line slope became slightly positive). In contrast, in Oklahoma fewer American burying beetles were caught on cloudy nights for all moon phases. We hypothesize this to be a result of amplification of skyglow from the nearby city of McAlester. The number of roundneck burying beetles captured was not associated with moonlight levels or cloud cover in Oklahoma. Together, these data suggest that natural nighttime lighting affects activity of these two closely related species differently.

Jillian D. Wormington, Kyle Risser, W. Wyatt Hoback, Kristopher L. Giles, Carmen Greenwood, and Barney Luttbeg "Contrasting Influence of Natural Nighttime Illumination on Capture Rates of the American Burying Beetle and Roundneck Burying Beetle (Coleoptera: Silphidae)," The Coleopterists Bulletin 71(2), 339-347, (27 June 2017). https://doi.org/10.1649/0010-065X-71.2.339
Received: 3 October 2016; Accepted: 1 April 2017; Published: 27 June 2017
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