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Members of the insect order Diptera respond differentially to environmental changes and may play an important role in understanding the effects that livestock grazing disturbances have on biodiversity. Here we examine how increasing grazing pressures on the Mongolian steppe affect Diptera diversity and abundance.

Using 2334 yellow pan traps, we sampled a total of 132 sites over four years to collect 17,348 flies. We compared fly diversity and abundance at five levels of livestock grazing.

We observed that fly family diversity decreased in heavily grazed sites and that diptera communities at sites with intense grazing have proportionally higher prevalence of taxa from the families Muscidae, Sepsidae, Ephydridae, Chloropidae, and Tachinidae, two of which are often associated with animal waste. Chironomidae, Ceratopogonidae, Sarcophagidae, and Sciaridae are most prevalent at sites with very little or no grazing, and Anthomyiidae, Calliphoridae, Carnidae, Cecidomyiidae, Dolichopodidae, Empididae, Scatopsidae and Sphaeroceridae are most often encountered at sites with intermediate amounts of grazing.

Observing changes in a few guilds of fly families at different grazing levels is beneficial in understanding human effects on fly diversity.
Read the paper below, or visit the Mongolia Aquatic Insect Survey website here.