Preliminary Study of Arthropod species Development and Succession on Carrion in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria


Arthropod succession in rabbit carrion was determined within 7 and 8 days during the dry and wet seasons respectively of 2000, in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. During this period arthropods belonging to the following Classes, Orders, and Families were taken: Insecta: Diptera: Calliphoridae, Muscidae, Otitidae, Syrphidae, Drosophilidae, Phoridae, Fanniidae, Ulidiidae, Sarcophagidae, Longhaeidae, Pipunculidae and Chloropidae. Others were Anthomyiidae, Bibionidae Platystomatidae; Coleoptera: Silphidae, Dystidae, Staphylinidae, Scarabaeidae, Carabidae, Anobiidae, Scydmaenidae, Dermestidae, Histeridae, Elateridae, Lyctidae, Cerambycidae; and also included Chrysomphalidae: Hymenoptera: Formicidae, Braconidae, Mutillidae, Vespidae; Hemiptera: Pyrrhocoridae, Lygaeidae, Pentatomidae, Reduviidae, Gelatrocoridae, Nepidae, Aphrophoridae; Neuroptera: Chrysopidae: Lepidoptera: Pieridae, NymphaJidae: Isoptera: Macrotermes; Orthoptera: Grylloblattidae, Gryllidae; Dictyoptera: Blattidae, Mantidae: Diplopoda: Juliforma: Chilopoda: Scutigeromorpha and Crustacea: Isopoda. Four decomposition stages: fresh, bloated, decay, and dry were observed. Calliphorids oviposited, eggs and sarcophagids gave birth to larvae during the fresh stage. Larvae of calliphorids were abundant in the bloated stage. Their feeding activities quickly broke open the carrion and terminated the bloated stage. The decay stage was marked by increased arthropod species richness. The coleopterans arrived mainly during the decay stage and peaked in species richness during the dry stage. Some coleopterans and ants preyed on dipterous eggs and larvae as well as on other insects, while others fed on carrion material. The ants came in very large numbers right from day one and remained till exhaustion of the resource. The dry stage was marked with increased numbers of coleopterans, ants and muscids. with the exhaustion of the resource, there was a decrease in species richness followed by dispersal, from the site. Four ecological categories of arthropods, necrophages, predators, omni vores, and incidentals were observed. Several other insect groups and all the other arthropods were incidentals.

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