The harsh conditions of the Brazilian seasonally dry tropical forest known as Caatinga pose challenges to the insects specialized in the exploitation of ephemeral resources. We investigated the diversity and daily flight activity of dipterans associated with decomposing rat carcasses in a field experiment performed in the semi-arid region of Pernambuco State, Brazil. We also analyzed the temporal arrival of adult insects on the carcasses at three stages of decomposition: early, intermediate, and advanced. We collected 1173 individuals, of which Muscidae had the highest abundance (36.5%), followed by Sarcophagidae (28.1%), Calliphoridae (25.2%), and Fanniidae (10.2%). Chrysomya albiceps (Wiedemann, 1819) (Calliphoridae), Fannia pusio (Wiedemann, 1830) (Fanniidae), Atherigona orientalis (Schiner, 1868), and Musca domestica (Linnaeus, 1758) (Muscidae) were the most abundant species. The richness reached its maximum value on the second day of decomposition, with 18 species, decreasing to 8 species on the last day of decomposition (7 days). The ecological indices of diversity, dominance, and evenness varied little among the stages. There was an overlap of most species throughout the decomposition, although the overall abundance was higher at the intermediate stage for Calliphoridae, Muscidae, and Sarcophagidae. In accordance to previous studies, nocturnal flight was rare, as approximately 8% of insects were captured at night. Our results expand the knowledge on ecological and behavioral aspects of necrophagous flies under inhospitable environments, such as the dry season in the Caatinga. The dominance of the invasive species C. albiceps reinforced here illustrates its geographical expansion towards the countryside of Northeastern Brazil.
Neotropical Entomology – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 27, 2017
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