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6 January 2016 Dung Beetle (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) Abundance and Diversity at Nature Preserve Within Hyper-Arid Ecosystem of Arabian Peninsula
Mahmoud S. Abdel-Dayem, Boris C. Kondratieff, Hassan H. Fadl, Hathal M. Al Dhafer
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Abstract

Coprophagous beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) play an important ecological role in the management of grazing and cycling of nutrients within different ecosystems. Seasonal abundance, species richness, and alpha diversity of the dung beetles were investigated in Rawdhat Khorim Nature Preserve in the central Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). Adult beetles were trapped using UV light traps biweekly from November 2011 to October 2012 (for a total of 24 nocturnal trap samples). A total of 2,982 dung beetles were caught, representing 22 species in nine genera belonging to the subfamilies of Aphodiinae and Scarabaeinae. The total catch was dominated (58%) by Aphodius pruinosus Reitter and Aphodius wollastoni iranicus Balthasar, with the Aphodiinae constituting 94% of the total beetle richness. Most of the dung beetle species were dwellers (20 species). Aphodius luridus (F.) and Granulopsammodius plicatulus (Fairmaire) are new records for KSA. Abundance, richness, and alpha diversity of dung beetles peaked during spring. Alpha diversity increased with higher average air temperatures. Dung beetle abundance was positively correlated with the normalized difference vegetation index. Two clusters of species phenology were apparent, a summer-active group and those not active during the summer months. Our findings may enhance the understanding of dung beetle ecology in the rawdhat network within hyper-arid ecosystems of Arabian Peninsula and sustainable management of dung beetles for nutrient reincorporation through the consumption and storage of dung in the soil.

© The Authors 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com
Mahmoud S. Abdel-Dayem, Boris C. Kondratieff, Hassan H. Fadl, and Hathal M. Al Dhafer "Dung Beetle (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) Abundance and Diversity at Nature Preserve Within Hyper-Arid Ecosystem of Arabian Peninsula," Annals of the Entomological Society of America 109(2), 216-223, (6 January 2016). https://doi.org/10.1093/aesa/sav154
Received: 22 October 2015; Accepted: 2 December 2015; Published: 6 January 2016
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KEYWORDS
abundance
central Saudi Arabia
diversity
dung beetle
species richness
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