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Dung Beetles

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By Tom Wassmer Assistant Professor of Biology at Siena Heights University in Adrian, Michigan
Erin L McCullough, Bruno A Buzatto, Leigh W Simmons
When females mate with multiple males, they set the stage for postcopulatory sexual selection via sperm competition and/or cryptic female choice. Surprisingly little is known about the rates of multiple mating by females in the wild, despite the importance of this information in understanding the potential for postcopulatory sexual selection to drive the evolution of reproductive behaviour, morphology and physiology. Dung beetles in the genus Onthophagus have become a laboratory model for studying pre- and postcopulatory sexual selection, yet we still lack information about the reproductive behaviour of female dung beetles in natural populations...
July 2017: Molecular Ecology
Cristiane Costa, Victor Hugo F Oliveira, Rafaella Maciel, Wallace Beiroz, Vanesca Korasaki, Julio Louzada
BACKGROUND: Conserving biodiversity in tropical landscapes is a major challenge to scientists and conservationists. Current rates of deforestation, fragmentation, and land use intensification are producing variegated landscapes with undetermined values for the conservation of biological communities and ecosystem functioning. Here, we investigate the importance of tropical variegated landscapes to biodiversity conservation, using dung beetle as focal taxa. METHODS: The study was carried out in 12 variegated landscapes where dung beetles were sampled using six pitfall traps, 30 m apart from each other, along a transect in each studied landscape use and cover classes-LUCC (forest fragment and corridor, coffee plantation, and pasture)...
2017: PeerJ
Gregory T Sullivan, Sebahat K Ozman-Sullivan, Anne Bourne, Jean-Pierre Lumaret, Unal Zeybekoglu, Myron P Zalucki, Greg Baxter
Guilds of dung dwelling and tunneling dung beetles coexist in local assemblages in warm temperate regions, despite the tendency of dwellers to be inferior competitors. A field experiment on the Black Sea coast of Turkey examined the role of temporal resource partitioning in their coexistence. Standardized dung pads deposited at 4 h intervals through a 24 h period in summer were collected 12, 24, or 48 h later. Adults from 10 tunneling and seven dung dwelling species were collected. The tunnelers contributed a high proportion of both total abundance and biomass...
January 1, 2017: Journal of Insect Science
Frantisek Xaver Jiri Sladecek, Simon Tristram Segar, Colin Lee, Richard Wall, Martin Konvicka
The coexistence of ecologically similar species (i.e. species utilizing the same resource) is a major topic in ecology. Communities are assembled either through the biotic interactions of ecologically similar species, e.g. competition, or by the abiotic separation of species along gradients of environmental conditions. Here, we investigated the temporal segregation, succession and seasonality of dung-inhabiting Coleoptera and Diptera that utilize an identical resource in exactly the same way. The data were collected from two temperate pastures, one in the United Kingdom and the second in the Czech Republic...
2017: PloS One
Tanja Milotić, Stijn Quidé, Thomas Van Loo, Maurice Hoffmann
Dung beetles form an insect group that fulfils important functions in terrestrial ecosystems throughout the world. These include nutrient cycling through dung removal, soil bioturbation, plant growth, secondary seed dispersal and parasite control. We conducted field experiments at two sites in the northern hemisphere temperate region in which dung removal and secondary seed dispersal were assessed. Dung beetles were classified in three functional groups, depending on their size and dung manipulation method: dwellers, large and small tunnelers...
January 2017: Oecologia
Beatrice Nervo, Enrico Caprio, Luisella Celi, Michele Lonati, Giampiero Lombardi, Gloria Falsone, Gabriele Iussig, Claudia Palestrini, Daniel Said-Pullicino, Antonio Rolando
Maintaining multiple ecological functions ("multifunctionality") is crucial to sustain viable ecosystems. To date most studies on biodiversity-ecosystem functioning (BEF) have focused on single or few ecological functions and services. However, there is a critical need to evaluate how species and species assemblages affect multiple processes at the same time, and how these functions are interconnected. Dung beetles represent excellent model organisms because they are key contributors to several ecosystem functions...
February 2017: Ecology
Nicole L Gunter, Tom A Weir, Adam Slipinksi, Ladislav Bocak, Stephen L Cameron
The evolutionary success of beetles and numerous other terrestrial insects is generally attributed to co-radiation with flowering plants but most studies have focused on herbivorous or pollinating insects. Non-herbivores represent a significant proportion of beetle diversity yet potential factors that influence their diversification have been largely unexamined. In the present study, we examine the factors driving diversification within the Scarabaeidae, a speciose beetle family with a range of both herbivorous and non-herbivorous ecologies...
2016: PloS One
A Bourg, F Escobar, I MacGregor-Fors, C E Moreno
Both the impact of habitat modification on the food preferences of species and its impact on ecosystem functioning are poorly understood. In this study, we analyzed food selection by dung beetles in 80 tropical forest fragments and their adjacent cattle pastures in the Los Tuxtlas Biosphere Reserve, Mexico. Ten pitfall traps were placed at each site, half baited with human dung and the other half with fish carrion. We assessed dung beetle food selection and classified any specialization in resource use quantitatively using a multinomial classification model...
October 2016: Neotropical Entomology
Hannah M Griffiths, Julio Louzada, Richard D Bardgett, Jos Barlow
Functional diversity indices are used to facilitate a mechanistic understanding of many theoretical and applied questions in current ecological research. The use of mean trait values in functional indices assumes that traits are robust, in that greater variability exists between than within species. While the assertion of robust traits has been explored in plants, there exists little information on the source and extent of variability in the functional traits of higher trophic level organisms. Here we investigated variability in two functionally relevant dung beetle traits, measured from individuals collected from three primary forest sites containing distinct beetle communities: body mass and back leg length...
2016: PloS One
D Domínguez, D Marín-Armijos, C Ruiz
To understand the effects of global warming in tropical insect communities, it is necessary to comprehend how such communities respond to different abiotic factors that covariate with altitude. In this study, we partially answer this question applied to dung beetle communities distributed along an altitudinal gradient. The sampling was conducted in seven stations 100 m apart each in altitude in a dry mountain scrub in southern Ecuador. A total of 7422 individuals belonging to six species were captured. Canthon balteatus Boheman was the most abundant with 6502 individuals, and Onoreidium ohausi (Arrow) was the least abundant with 20 individuals...
February 2015: Neotropical Entomology
Matthew S Jones, Shravani Tadepalli, David F Bridges, Vivian C H Wu, Frank Drummond
Wildlife as a source of microbial contamination is a food safety concern. Deer feces (scat) have been determined as a point source for Escherichia coli O157:H7 contamination of fresh produce. The ecological role of the scooped scarab (Onthophagus hecate (Panzer)), a generalist dung beetle species common in Maine blueberry fields, was explored as a biological control agent and alternatively as a pathogen vector between deer scat and food. A large-scale field survey of wildlife scat indicated that pathogenic E...
2015: PloS One
Pedro Giovâni da Silva, Malva Isabel Medina Hernández
Community structure is driven by mechanisms linked to environmental, spatial and temporal processes, which have been successfully addressed using metacommunity framework. The relative importance of processes shaping community structure can be identified using several different approaches. Two approaches that are increasingly being used are functional diversity and community deconstruction. Functional diversity is measured using various indices that incorporate distinct community attributes. Community deconstruction is a way to disentangle species responses to ecological processes by grouping species with similar traits...
2015: PloS One
Zia Mehrabi, Eleanor M Slade, Angel Solis, Darren J Mann
Responses to microhabitat are often neglected when ecologists sample animal indicator groups. Microhabitats may be particularly influential in non-passive biodiversity sampling methods, such as baited traps or light traps, and for certain taxonomic groups which respond to fine scale environmental variation, such as insects. Here we test the effects of microhabitat on measures of species diversity, guild structure and biomass of dung beetles, a widely used ecological indicator taxon. We demonstrate that choice of trap placement influences dung beetle functional guild structure and species diversity...
2014: PloS One
Andrew D Barnes, Rowan M Emberson, Frank-Thorsten Krell, Raphael K Didham
Reversing anthropogenic impacts on habitat structure is frequently successful through restoration, but the mechanisms linking habitat change, community reassembly and recovery of ecosystem functioning remain unknown. We test for the influence of edge effects and matrix habitat restoration on the reassembly of dung beetle communities and consequent recovery of dung removal rates across tropical forest edges. Using path modelling, we disentangle the relative importance of community-weighted trait means and functional trait dispersion from total biomass effects on rates of dung removal...
2014: PloS One
Juliano A Bogoni, Malva I M Hernández
Mammal feces are the primary food and nesting resource for the majority of dung beetle species, and larval development depends on the quantity and quality of that resource. Physiological necessities, competitive interactions, and resource sharing are common and suggest that dung beetles may show preferences for feces of greater nutritional quality, which may in turn impact beetle assemblages and community structure. This study investigated whether attractiveness of dung beetles to different resource (feces) types varies depending on mammal trophic guild and associated nutritional content...
2014: Journal of Insect Science
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