Oribatid mite (Acari: Oribatida) contribution to decomposition dynamic of leaf litter in primary forest, second growth, and polyculture in the Central Amazon

Contribuição dos ácaros oribatídeos (Acari: Oribatida) para a dinâmica de decomposição de folhas de serapilheira em floresta primária, floresta secundária e policultivo na Amazônia Central

We studied the contribution of oribatid mites in the dynamics of litter decomposition in an experiment using litterbags of three different mesh sizes (20 µm, 250 µm, and 1 cm). The experiment was carried out at a primary forest (FLO), a secondary forest (SEC), and at two polyculture systems (POA and POC). We compared the weight loss of the leaves of Vismia guianensis and the changes of the oribatid mite species community. We processed the samples after 26, 58, 111, 174, 278, and 350 days from the beginning of the experiment by using the Berlese-Tullgren to extract the animals. We hypothesized that: 1. the abundance and diversity of oribatid mites would exert an influence in the decomposition process; 2. there would be a successional changing of the species during decomposition; and 3. there would be differences in the colonization of species in relation to the mesh size of the litterbags. A total of 95 species of oribatid mites was found. The biomass data was the first registered for the Amazon region. The great dominance of oribatid mites did not exert an influence in the decomposition process. There was not a successional changing of the species during the course of the decomposition process, unlike those shown by results obtained in the temperate forest, because we found neither early colonizers nor species that prefer advanced decomposition stages. The oribatid mite community, which developed in the litterbags under tropical conditions, was atypical of the normal stages of leaf litter breakdown and decomposition. There were differences in the colonization of species in relation to the mesh size of the litterbags. These differences were very closely related to the specific habits and habitat of the dominant species.

Central Amazon; soil invertebrates; Acari: Oribatida; colonization; litter decomposition


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