Estimating the population density of American burying beetle (Nicrophorus americanus) on the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant in southeastern Oklahoma

Monday, November 17, 2014: 11:24 AM
Portland Ballroom 255 (Oregon Convention Center)
Kyle Risser , Entomology and Plant Pathology, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK
Kris Giles , Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK
Carmen Greenwood , Murray State University, Murray, KY
Burying beetles in the genus Nicrophorus are carrion feeding beetles that display cooperative brood care behavior.  Historically, the American Burying Beetle (ABB) (Olivier) (Coleoptera; Silphidae) was found across the eastern United States but is currently limited to three viable populations in SE OK, Block Island, RI, and Central NE. The McAlester Army Ammunition Plant (McAAP), located in SE OK, has a robust population of ABB persisting within its boundaries. This population’s density will be estimated through intensive sampling using mark and recapture techniques.

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) protocols, designed to detect ABB within a given area, prescribe a single trap to sample 2 km2. In order to address the cogency of this protocol to estimate population density, we will simultaneously sample paired 2 km2 grids that contain either a single trap or 16 equidistantly spaced traps to achieve saturation sampling.  Using this trapping method, we can determine whether a single trap can truly estimate the ABB density in 2 km2; if not, a conversion factor will be created. Preliminary results indicate that a single trap catches approximately ¼ of catchable beetles in a 2 km2. If these results remain consistent through the reminder of the study, a conversion factor or an adjustment of the trapping protocol may be required when estimating population density using a single trap.