|Early seasonal activity of carrion beetles (Coleoptera, Silphidae) in three selected biotopes
J. Dekeirsschieter1, Y. Brostaux2, F. Verheggen1, E. Haubruge1
1Gembloux Agricultural University, Functional and Evolutionary Entomology
2Gembloux Agricultural University, Department of applied Statistics, Computer Science and Mathematics
The necrophagous insects, mainly Diptera and Coleoptera, have particular relationships with decomposing remains which constitute a rich ephemeral resource. This study is focused on postmortem colonisation by Coleoptera Silphidae. In Western Europe, this family is divided in two subfamilies of forensic interest: Nicrophorinae (i.e. burying beetles) with eight species and Silphinae called carrion beetle included thirteen species.
Three private areas, located in Belgium, were used to monitor the insect colonization on pig carcasses (2 carcasses per biotope): a forest, an agricultural and an urban site in Spring 2007.
Beetles were collected using pitfall traps and manual sampling. Seven species of Silphidae were identified during the sampling period (29 March- 11 May 2007), three Nicrophorinae (Nicrophorus humator, Nicrophorus vespillo, Nicrophorus vespilloides) and four Silphinae (Necrodes littoralis, Oiceoptoma thoracica, Thanatophilus sinuata, Thanatophilus rugosa).
In total, 1579 individuals were collected. Regardless of the biotope, the subfamily of Silphinae (1402 specimens) is more represented than the Nicrophorinae with only 177 collected specimens.
No Silphidae was found in the urban habitat. Contrary to the agricultural biotope where six species of Silphidae were trapped: Nicrophorus humator, Nicrophorus vespillo, Nicrophorus vespilloides, Necrodes littoralis, Thanatophilus sinuata and Thanatophilus rugosa. While in the forest biotope, seven species of Silphidae were collected: Nicrophorus humator, Nicrophorus vespillo, Nicrophorus vespilloides, Necrodes littoralis, Oiceoptoma thoracica, Thanatophilus sinuata and Thanatophilus rugosa.