Assessment of the Diversity of Dung Beetles (Coleoptera, Scarabaeidae) Along a Disturbance Gradient in Udzungwa Mountain National Park, Tanzania.

Anna N Mwambala, B.A. Nyundo


The diversity of dung beetles was assessed along a disturbance gradient in the Uzdungwa Mountains National Park in Tanzania. The form of disturbance involved human activities such as excessive deadwood collection, cutting grasses for thatching and collection of medicinal plants. Disturbance gradients were primary forest (low level / no human activities), moderately disturbed sites and highly disturbed sites. Pitfall traps baited with fresh cow dung were used, nine transect were established along with three transects at each disturbance gradient. Dung beetles abundance, species richness and diversity were analyzed statistically using Diversity and Richness–2.65, SYSTAT Version 10 software. A total of 12,894 dung beetles comprised of 55 species were collected.  Species richness was high in highly disturbed sites (48 species) compared with moderately and primary forest sites (41 species each). Kruskal–Wallis showed statistically significant difference among the three levels of disturbance (H=80.920, p<0.05), with abundance being highest in primary forest. The Shannon-Wiener index showed higher species diversity in the moderately disturbed sites (H′ = 2.5678) and lowest at primary forest (1.7248) and the difference was statistically significance, p>0.05.

Key words: Diversity, disturbance gradient, dung beetles, Uzdungwa Mountains National Park.

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3216 ISSN (Online)2225-0948

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