Sandy beaches are among the most impacted ecosystems worldwide, and the effects of urbanization on the biodiversity of these habitats are largely unknown, particularly in Brazil. We investigated the composition and structure of assemblages of sarcosaprophagous insects (Diptera: Calliphoridae, Sarcophagidae, and Muscidae) on six sandy beaches exposed to differential levels of human impact in Pernambuco State, Brazil. In total, 20,672 adults of 40 species were collected, of which 70% were Calliphoridae. Sarcophagidae had the highest diversity with 26 species of nine genera. A strong overlap in the composition of the assemblages across the six beaches was observed, with only a few species being restricted to one type of beach. The flesh flies Dexosarcophaga carvalhoi (Lopes), Peckia intermutans (Walker), and Titanogrypa larvicida (Lopes) occurred exclusively in beaches under low anthropogenic impact. Species with strong medical and veterinary importance such as Synthesiomyia nudiseta (Wulp) occurred even in beaches under low human presence. The invasive species Chrysomya albiceps (Wiedemann) and Chrysomya megacephala (F.) (Calliphoridae) were dominant in all beaches, which exposes the vulnerability of sandy beaches to exotic species. Our data imply that sarcosaprophagous flies can be used as early biological indicators to suggest urbanization in coastal environments.
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Vol. 46 • No. 3