Skip to main content
Dryad logo

Data from: Arthropod assemblages on small mammal carrion of the Kansas Flint Hills: an ecological approach


Engasser, Emmy; Stone, Rachel; Jameson, Mary Liz (2021), Data from: Arthropod assemblages on small mammal carrion of the Kansas Flint Hills: an ecological approach, Dryad, Dataset,


Arthropods are critical to the decomposition of carrion, but little is known about the biodiversity of arthropods attracted to carrion or environmental factors that shape communities.

This research described carrion beetle (Coleoptera: Silphidae) and dung beetle (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Scarabaeinae and Aphodiinae) community assemblages on rat carrion across a full annual cycle (twelve contiguous months, 2016-2017). Abiotic data (light availability, wind speed, soil surface humidity, soil surface temperature) complement the beetle biodiversity data. Together, these data allow investigation of the conditions that drive necrophilous beetle assemblage patterns.

This research was designed in a spatially hierarchical fashion (fine scale to broad scale) and compared microhabitats (cranial versus caudal regions of a rat carcass) and macrohabitats (woodland and grassland) at three study sites within the Kansas Flint Hills physiographic region.

These data unite ecological patterns and processes with forensic entomology and crime scene investigation.


For methods and data collection, refer to the supplemental document entitled, “Experimental design for repeatable carrion ecology study with true replication (not pseudoreplication)” (Engasser et al. 2021).

Usage Notes

For each dataset, refer to the accompanying ReadMe text file for usage information and metadata.

Additional by-catch specimens and quadrat photos are available upon request.

Related works are:

Engasser, E.L., R.L. Stone, and M.L. Jameson. 2021. Habitat Associations of Carrion Beetles (Coleoptera: Silphidae) Across a Full Annual Cycle. Environmental Entomology 50(2). DOI: 10.1093/ee/nvab011

Stone, R. L, Engasser, E.L., and M.L. Jameson. 2021. Heads or Tails? Dung Beetle (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Scarabaeinae & Aphodiinae) Attraction to Carrion. Environmental Entomology 50(2). DOI: 10.1093/ee/nvab012