26 May, 2016

The effect of habitat fragmentation on the scorpion assemblage of a Brazilian Atlantic Forest


Human deforestation of the world's tropical rainforests have resulted in habitat destruction and subsequent habitat fragmentation. Lira and co-workers have now published a study that investigated how fragmentation and habitat structure influenced the scorpion assemblage in a hyperfragmented landscape in the northeast Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Not surprisingly, the authors conclude that fragmentation and habitat quality are determining factors for the assemblage of the scorpion populations in this study.

Abstract:
Habitat fragmentation is a topic widely studied in ecology; however, its effects on the assemblage of the order Scorpiones is less well understood. Aiming to fill this gap, this study assessed the effect of fragmentation on the assemblage of these arachnids in 12 Brazilian Atlantic forest fragments. Five environmental variables were measured (depth and dry mass of litter, understory density, canopy openness, and diameter at breast height of the trees), and the fragment area, vegetation cover, connectivity and elevation assessed. The animals were collected during the dry season and, identified at night with the use of ultraviolet light lamps. The analyzed scorpion assemblage in the landscape was characterized by the species Tityus pusillus, T. stigmurus, T. neglectus, T. brazilae, and Ananteris mauryi, with a maximum of three species cooccurring per fragment. Only the fragment size and the dry mass of litter showed a positive relationship with the composition of scorpions. These results suggest that the habitat of scorpions responds to environmental attributes and landscape metrics at both higher (fragment size) and lower (leaf litter) scales. Our study was able to expand our knowledge of how scorpions respond to habitat changes in the Atlantic Forest. We conclude that fragmentation and
habitat quality are determining factors for the assemblage of these arachnids.


Reference:
Lira AFA, de Araujo VLN, de Souza AM, Rego FNAA, Albuquerque CMR. The effect of habitat fragmentation on the scorpion assemblage of a Brazilian Atlantic Forest. J Insect Conserv. 2016;First online: 14 May 2016. [Subscription required for full text]

Thanks to Andre Lira for sending me their article!

1 comment:

James Brown said...

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