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Effects of urbanisation and landscape heterogeneity mediated by feeding guild and body size in a community of coprophilous beetles

Foster, C. W., Kelly, C., Rainey, J. J. and Holloway, G. J. (2020) Effects of urbanisation and landscape heterogeneity mediated by feeding guild and body size in a community of coprophilous beetles. Urban Ecosystems, 23 (5). pp. 1063-1077. ISSN 1083-8155

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s11252-020-00997-1


Although the impacts of urbanisation on biodiversity are well studied, the precise response of some invertebrate groups remains poorly known. Dung-associated beetles are little studied in an urban context, especially in temperate regions. We considered how landscape heterogeneity, assessed at three spatial scales (250, 500 and 1000 metre radius), mediates the community composition of coprophilous beetles on a broad urban gradient. Beetles were sampled using simple dung-baited traps, placed at 48 sites stratified across three distance bands around a large urban centre in England. The most urban sites hosted the lowest abundance of saprophagous beetles, with a lower mean body length relative to the least urban sites. Predicted overall species richness and the richness of saprophagous species were also lowest at the most urban sites. Ordination analyses followed by variation partitioning revealed that landscape heterogeneity across the urban gradient explained a small but significant proportion of community composition. Heterogeneity data for a 500-metre radius around each site provided the best fit with beetle community data. Larger saprophagous species were associated with lower amounts of manmade surface and improved grassland. Some individual species, particularly predators, appeared to be positively associated with urban or urban fringe sites. This study is probably the first to examine the response of the whole coprophilous beetle community to urbanisation. Our results suggest that the response of this community to urbanisation matches expectations based on other taxonomic groups, whilst emphasising the complex nature of this response, with some smaller-bodied species potentially benefitting from urbanisation.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
ID Code:90229


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