Invasion of intra-Amazonian savannas by the dung beetle Digintonthophagus gazella (Fabricius, 1787) (Insecta: Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae)

This work aimed to verify the invasion of the dung beetles community from intra-Amazonian savanna by the African species Digitonthophagus gazella (Fabricius 1787). The research was carried out near Alter do Chão village (2º 31' S; 55º 00' W), 36 Km Southwest of Santarém, Pará, Brazil. Twenty two areas were sampled, from 21 July to 13 August 2003, using 66 baited pitfall traps (cattle dung, human faeces and carcass bait). D. gazella individuals were found in four of twenty two sampled areas. The presence of the species in the savanna was analysed by a logistic regression, using the occurrence of burnings in the last six years, species richness and abundance of native Scarabaeinae, and abundance of Canthon sp1, (the most abundant species in the region), as explanatory variables. Except for the total abundance of native Scarabaeinae, none of the variables were statistically significant for the presence of D. gazella. Hypothetically, these results were probably due to a non-analysed factor related to the invasibility of the area by D. gazella, or lack of time for the species to disperse and establish in all the areas, or a resistance of native dung beetle community to D. gazella invasion. Nevertheless, there must be a competitive mechanism of invasion resistance bounding the abundance of native species and D. gazella invasibility.

Amazonian; Tropical ecosystem; Brazil; Biological invasion

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