Houseflies speaking for the conservation of natural areas: a broad sampling of Muscidae (Diptera) on coastal plains of the Pampa Biome, Southern Brazil.
The Brazilian Coastal Plain of the Pampa Biome (CPPB), has suffered fragmentation caused by resource extraction and cattle raising. In turn, conservation proposals are needed to prevent the anthropisation of Pampa natural areas. The first step towards conservation proposals by using insects is fauna inventories, providing data support for legislators. Thus, we undertook a regional and broad-scale sampling survey to investigate the diversity of Muscidae flies in protected and non-protected areas of CPPB. In addition, we carried out an ecological guild diversity analysis as a metric approach of bioindication. The Muscidae sampling resulted in 6314 specimens, 98 species taxa in 31 genera. Based on diversity estimators, our sampling represents 70-86% of all muscids of CPPB. The highest diversity occurs in Pelotas streams (non-protected) and Taim Ecological Station (a huge protected area). Despite the fact these areas are more diversified and present more predatory muscid species than others, invasive species associated with livestock were observed at a higher level, providing evidence of the impact of livestock proximity to protected areas. Based on biological characters of Muscidae species and ecological guild analysis, we were able to identify: (i) high diversity of carnivorous species associated with forested and more preserved areas and (ii) a high level of a few saprophagous species as indicator of anthropisation process. In general, our results represent a significant step towards understanding Muscidae in Southern Brazil, and we demonstrate how the population ecology of muscid flies supports data to conservation proposals.