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We studied experimentally the effect of resource subdivision and population aggregation on the number of coexisting species in the coexisting species in the community of carrion flies. Placing small pieces of cow liver (50 g) in a cultivated field we created a homogeneous but patchy environment for the ovipositing flies. For the larval development, two or four pieces of liver were combined to a single unit to remove resource patchiness during larval competition. This manipulation increased interspecific aggregation but decreased intraspecific aggregation. The size of the emerging flies, which reflects the level of competition, varied more between rearings when patchiness was retained. These results imply greater spatial variation in intraspecific competition in the more patchy environment. Combining four pieces of resource into a single unit led to a clear reduction in the number of emerging species, and a clear increase in the dominance of the most abundant species, compared with a control group. Our results strongly support the notion that independent aggregation of competitors facilitates their coexistence, and hence regional diversity.
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