Hexapod decomposers of Serra de Santa Catarina, Paraíba, Brazil: an area with high potential for conservation of Caatinga biodiversity
Abstract: In detritus-based trophic systems, springtails, dung beetles, saprophagous calyptrate flies and termites consume and fragment organic matter and control populations of decomposer microorganisms, exerting a strong influence on energy and nutrient fluxes. A faunal inventory of these four groups of hexapods was performed in Serra de Santa Catarina (SSC), an area of arboreal-shrub caatinga located in the state of Paraíba, with the purpose of characterizing the assemblages of these taxa,
... es of these taxa, and highlighting their unique links to the local ecosystem. Samplings were performed in May, 2014, and April, 2015, both during the rainy season. Standard sampling protocols for biodiversity inventory of the various taxa were used, including both active and passive sampling methods. In general, 114 species of hexapods were captured, with 26 species of springtails, 20 dung beetles, 30 saprophagous calyptrate flies and 38 termites, with sampling sufficiency varying from 69.5 to 96.8% of total estimated richness. Species richness of the groups are among the highest recorded for a single area of Caatinga, with some taxa being recorded for the first time for the domain. Several morphospecies had indeterminate taxonomic status, especially springtails and termites, and are quite likely new species to science. The structure of the assemblages of springtails, dung beetles, saprophagous calyptrate flies and termites recorded in SSC, suggest that this conserved area is unique within the highly impacted landscape of Caatinga, and has great potential for the conservation of biodiversity of this domain in the Northeast Region of Brazil.