Response of dung beetle diversity to three livestock management systems in drylands of central Mexico.
Human activities such as livestock raising have modified the Mexican High Plateau in a land-use mosaic. We assessed the response of dung beetles to three livestock management systems with different intensities of cattle rearing, which determines their respective vegetation coverage. We found significant differences in species diversity in the three systems, due mainly to Euoniticellus intermedius and Digitonthophagus gazella, which were dominant species in induced pasture. Species turnover showed that induced pasture was significantly different from managed and unmanaged pasture. Both exotic species were also an indicator for induced pasture, along with Aphodius pseudolividus. Our results are presumably related to the differences in land use that influence community composition, favoring the presence of opportunistic dung beetle species in induced pastures. Managed and unmanaged pasture probably represent a more stable habitat for species that are more susceptible to habitat perturbation. We propose E. intermedius, D. gazella and A. pseudolividus as the main indicator species of habitat perturbation because they are able to colonize open grasslands when not facing competition with native species. Maintaining habitat heterogeneity, including native vegetation and extensive livestock farming, can aid the ecosystem conservation services provided by dung beetles, ensuring cattle production and food security.