Temporal variation in the community structure of dung beetles (Scarabaeidae: Coleoptera: Insecta) in Kurukshetra, Haryana
As dung beetles play a critical role in recycling the organic matter in nature, the monitoring of dung beetles diversity in different geographical areas has become very important. The present preliminary surveys in Haryana show that the pattern of dung beetles occurrence is already disturbed. A very less abundance and species richness as recorded in these surveys, as compared to earlier studies, is a cause of worrisome. A welcome sign of the present study is the finding of more dung rollers from the protected forest areas. To study the temporal variations of dung beetle abundance and community structure in and around Kurukshetra, surveys were conducted during the season (March-July) at two sites i.e. in village Jhansa and Kirmach. The area chosen for study is mainly used for cultivation and has plenty of cattle dung and small stored dung heaps with trees scattered along the pathways. Dung beetles were collected by baited pitfall traps and also manually. A total of 2152 dung beetles captured, fall under 21 species, 6 genera and three subfamilies. Some of the dominant species were Onthophagus falsus, Digitonthophagus bonasus, Onthophagus mopsus, Aphodius lividus, Digitonthophagus catta, Onitis subopacus and Aphodius moestus. In overall comparison to earlier records of dung beetles from the area, a decline in the fauna was recorded. Diversity is found to be affected due to the seasonal changes. The distribution of dung beetle species and abundance is not uniform throughout the study period, the assemblages vary temporally. The overall pattern that we detected indicates that in the organization of dung beetle community, the richness, abundance and diversity rise in the month of July.