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Coleoptera Collected from Rotting Fishhook Barrel Cacti (Ferocactus wislizeni (Engelm.) Britton and Rose), with a Review of Nearctic Coleoptera Associated with Succulent Necrosis

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Sixteen dead Ferocactus wislizeni (Engelm.) Britton & Rose (Cactaceae), known variously as fishhook barrel cactus, candy barrel cactus, or compass plant, were discovered in various states of decay near Portal, Arizona during July 2011. A survey of the Coleoptera in the rotting cacti resulted in the collection of 976 specimens representing 11 families and 35 species. Volume of cactus was significantly positively correlated with moisture content and moisture content was significantly positively correlated with species richness and abundance. Findings indicated that there may be three distinct successional stages—wet (saturated), moist, and dry—during cactus late decomposition. A review of literature listing species collected from decaying cacti and succulents is provided with updated nomenclature. Photographs and basic biological information are provided for 20 taxa of interest and relevant literature containing descriptions, keys, distributional data, and biological/life history data is reviewed.
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... Other specific arthropod taxa associated with necrotic columnar cacti also have been studied, but to a lesser degree. Several Coleopteran species, primarily of the family Histeridae (genus Carcinops, Hololepta, and Iliotona), are common colonizers of the necrotic cacti and may also exhibit some degree of host specialization (Ferro et al., 2013;Pfeiler & Markow, 2011;Reese & Swanson, 2017). Similarly, Staphylinidae and ...
... Tenebrionidae families have been found as common cacti arthropod fauna (Ferro et al., 2013;Mejía, 2016). Additionally, the pseudoscorpion Dinocheirus arizonensis, a predator of a variety of insects, including the cactophilic Drosophila larvae, also has been found in the rotten cacti niche. ...
... They appeared in the more advanced stages of decomposition when dipteran and coleopteran eggs, larvae and pupae are available. A similar succession pattern was observed in barrel cacti (Ferro et al., 2013) wherein the abundance of predators is directly related to advanced cactus decay. ...
... For example, it is known that some members of the subfamily Aleocharinae Fleming, 1821 (Staphylinidae) are parasitoids of Diptera puparia (Peschke andFuldner 1977, Klimaszewski 1984). Other works such as that of Ferro et al. (2013) provide information of beetles associated with decaying cacti (Ferocactus wislizeni Britton & Rose) in northern Mexico, and in their work, they found that the beetle families represented by the greatest number of species were Staphylinidae and Histeridae. Moreover, a large number of beetle species belonging to both families have been reported as predators of eggs, larvae and pupae of dipteran species inhabiting decayed cacti. ...
... Marseul, 1855 as a scavenger. Moreover, Hister sp. is also classified as either a scavenger or a predator, and it is commonly associated with M. geometrizans (Ferro et al. 2013). With regard to Hololepta sp., the immature and adult individuals have been found consuming dipteran larvae (Ferro et al. 2013). ...
... Moreover, Hister sp. is also classified as either a scavenger or a predator, and it is commonly associated with M. geometrizans (Ferro et al. 2013). With regard to Hololepta sp., the immature and adult individuals have been found consuming dipteran larvae (Ferro et al. 2013). In this study, though, we only recorded adults associated with I. dumortieri, O. ficus-indica, and M. geometrizans; however, we did not detect beetle larvae in cacti. ...
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Cactus-dominated semiarid scrubland covers 40% of Mexican territory. This ecosystem is highly dynamic and undergoes drastic changes caused by seasonality. These temporal changes influence saprophagous insect communities associated with Cactaceae species. In this study, we analyzed the beetle community associated with decayed cactus species at the Barranca de Metztitlán Biosphere Reserve in central Mexico. We compared the diversity and composition of beetle communities in rainy and dry seasons; moreover, the network architecture of cactus-beetle interactions was examined. High dominance and abundance were detected in rainy assemblages, whereas the dry season had less abundance but more ecological diversity. A nested structure was found between individual cactus species and beetle species, as well as in an intrapopulation network between fragments of the columnar cacti Isolatocereus dumortieri (Scheidw.) Backeb. (Cactaceae), and beetle species for both seasons (rainy and dry). This finding shows more generalist than specialist beetle species inhabiting cactus species. Further research is still needed to understand whether the presence of these beetle species is determined by microhabitat conditions or the abundance of prey associated with decayed cacti. This is the first step in untangling the complex interactions among cactus-beetle species involved in the decomposition process of cacti in semiarid environments. This study provides evidence of temporal shifts in abundance and diversity patterns of these beetles associated with decayed cacti; furthermore, we did not detect an influence of seasonality on the structure of cactus-beetle interactions.
... Individuals of different species of Hydrophilidae, such as Agna capillata (LeConte) and Dactylosternum cacti (LeConte) were reported in necrotic tissue of Ferocactus wislizeni (Engelm.) Britton and Rose, but it was not mentioned that they caused damage, but rather that they act as saprophages (detritivores and/or fungivores) ( Ferro et al. 2013). Aleochara species have been reported in excrement and plant matter, and also have been collected in decayed cacti (Navarrete-Heredia et al. 2002). ...
... (Ferro et al. 2013). Adults and immature stages are predators of fly larvae in decaying vegetation (Ferro et al. 2013); Hololepta spp. (mainly H. quadridentata Oliver, H. yucateca Marseul, H. polita Marseul, and H. vicina LeConte) are natural enemies of weevils of the genera Scyphophorus and Comospolites (Boscán de Martinez 1998, Velázquez et al. 2006, Drezner 2014, Salcedo-Delgado et al. 2018. ...
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Columnar cacti are distributed naturally in arid and semi-arid zones of America. Almost 50% are found in Mexico, were 45 species have been used for 8,500 years and currently are commercialized in regional or international markets. Rot damage in monopodic stems or branches was observed recently in columnar cacti of Central Mexico. Previous reports suggested Cactophagus spinolae (Gyllenhal) and Scyphophorus acupunctactus Gyllenhal as the main causes of damage, and both were feeding on new hosts. This paper recorded organisms associated with the process of rot damage in some columnar cacti of Central Mexico. In 2012, field trips during dry and rainy seasons documented damage and collected insects in five columnar cacti of Central Mexico. The presence of the organisms varied in relation to the host and damage stage: primary, intermediate, and late. The primary stage when rot damage begins is characterized by C. spinolae, as well as Chalcolepidius approximatus Erichson, and larvae of some Lepidoptera. The other stages are characterized by saprophages or parasitoids. Most insects found in the study were new records of species of Cactaceae. Knowledge of ecological interactions and dynamics of plant communities during rot damage is necessary to propose control and sanitation measures, and understand the effect of disturbance in the presence of these herbivores.
... Their modified stems allow them to perform photosynthesis and store humidity in environments where moisture is usually a limited resource. For this reason, cacti in process of necrosis represent a great opportunity for the reincorporation of humidity back into the ecosystem, providing, for a brief period, the chance for the sustainment of a wide variety of invertebrates from different guilds (Ferro et al., 2013). Water scavenger beetles (Coleoptera: Hydrophiloidea: Hydrophilidae) are typically associated to a variety of water bodies (Hansen, 1991). ...
... This species is commonly found in large rotting cacti like saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea), fishhook barrel cactus (Ferocactus wilizeni) and occasionally Agave spp. (Ferro et al., 2013). It has been reported to be attracted to UV lights (Smetana, 1978). ...
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The terrestrial hydrophilid genus Agna Smetana (tribe Megasternini), specialized in rotten cacti, is redescribed and illustrated. Known species are diagnosed and a new one, A. zaragozai sp. nov., is described from central Mexico (Hidalgo, Puebla, and Oaxaca) and its molecular barcode is provided. Other species of Hydrophilidae known to have been collected in cacti are listed and commented. Dactylosternum cacti (LeConte) (Coelostomatini) is recorded for the first time from Mexico and Cryptopleurum impressum Sharp (Megasternini) is recorded for the first time from the Mexican states of Jalisco and San Luis Potosí.
... Distribution. From U.S.A., Mexico, and Guatemala (Ferro et al. 2013, GBIF 2017, IDIGBIO 2017, Penati 2001 Distribution. According to Kovarik & Caterino (2016), this species lives on decaying agaves. ...
... This species has been collected on dead plants of sotol (Kovarik & Caterino, 2016). Its distribution is limited to Mexico (Baja California, Chihuahua, Nuevo León, Oaxaca, and Sonora) (Nicolas Degallier in litt., Peter Kovarik personal communication) and U.S.A. (Ferro et al. 2013, GBIF 2017, IDIGBIO 2017, Ward et al. 1977. Jalisco, and Guerrero are new state records for H. vicina. ...
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It is axiomatic that ecological geneticists be intimately acquainted with the habits and habitats of the organisms with which they are concerned. Knowledge of even a few of the environmental cues that initiate a behavioral response can be fundamental for an eventual understanding of gene-environment interaction. However, ecological genetics is derived from fields as profound as phylogenetic histories on the one hand and biogeographic origins on the other.