The structure of carrion fly communities: the size and the type of carrion

  • Kuusela S
  • Hanski I
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Species composition and abundance relations of flies attracted to and bred from different sizes (20-100 g) and types of carrion (small mammal, cow liver, bird, and fish) were studied in natural breeding conditions in South Finland. Large pieces of carrion did not attract significantly more individuals or species than did small ones, but there was a positive correlation between size of carrion and numbers of flies bred, apparently because of competition. Altogether 10 species emerged from 50 cultures, and on average 2.78 + or - 1.22 species emerged from one culture. The number of co-occurrences among the emerging flies indicated random colonization. Size and type of carrion are not important determinants of community structure within the size and type ranges used. Lucilia illustris was the predominant species, comprising 50% of flies trapped and 85% of flies bred. The difference indicates changing species composition in the community. Competition delayed development in all species, but least in L. illustris, which suggests that fast developing species are at a competitive advantage. Abundance was positively correlated with the rate of development.-from Authors

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  • Seppo Kuusela

  • Ilkka Hanski

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