The most abundant species were Gymnopleurus flagellatus, Ateuchetus laticollis, and Onthophagus maki

Due to the close relationship that the Dupont’s lark (Chersophilus duponti) maintains with the presence of extensive grazing in the areas it inhabits, within the framework of the LIFE Connect Ricotí project, we have conducted specific sampling of the coprophagous arthropod community, those that feed on feces.

In June and October 2022, we conducted the sampling using a BACI design (Before-After-Control-Impact study) to understand the effect of the steppe habitat restoration measures applied within the project’s framework.

These data collections were carried out in our study areas: Hoces de Riaza and Duratón (Segovia); Páramos de Molina de Aragón (Guadalajara); in the towns of Valeria, Moya, and Pedro Izquierdo (Cuenca) and Secans de Mas de Melons-Alfés (Lleida).

Regarding the coprophagous arthropod community, it was found that Hoces del Riaza and Molina de Aragón had much higher biomass than the other areas. Lleida and Valeria had the lowest values, being areas with a low population of Dupont’s lark (Figure 1).

Figure 1. The x-axis represents the study locations, and the y-axis represents the abundance of coprophagous arthropods measured in milligrams.

Additionally, within the entire coprophagous community, we studied the coprophagous beetle community in more depth due to their crucial role in feces decomposition and nutrient cycles in ecosystems.

By feeding on decomposing organic matter, they contribute to the release of nutrients in the soil, positively affecting the overall health of the ecosystem. After identifying coprophagous beetles at the species level, a total of 34 species were obtained, 27 in spring and 14 in autumn. The most abundant species were Gymnopleurus flagellatus, Ateuchetus laticollis, and Onthophagus maki.

Samples of coprophagous arthropods were also collected in the spring of 2023, but we do not yet have the results. We will share them here in the future.

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