Coleoptera associated with undisturbed cow pats in pastures in southeastern Brazil

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2006
Authors:J. Mendes, Linhares A. X.
Journal:Neotropical Entomology
Date Published:nov/dec
Keywords:biological control, cattle dung, diversity, dung beetle

Coleoptera associated to undisturbed cattle droppings in pastures present great diversity and abundance. Several species are of primary veterinary importance for they may act as natural enemies of pest insects that breed in this habitat. To survey the diversity and abundance of Coleoptera associated to undisturbed cattle droppings, four undisturbed cattle dung pats naturally dropped in pastures and 5 cm of the soil immediately beneath them were collected almost allweekly from april 1992 to april 1994 in a farm located in the vicinity of São Carlos, State of São Paulo, Southeastern Brazil. Beetles were collected from the pats both using Berlese funnels and by allowing the beetles to emerge for 30 to 40 days. A total of 24,332 specimens belonging to 13 beetle families and at least 66 species were identifi ed. The most abundant and diverse families were Aphodiidae, Staphylinidae and Scarabaeidae. In general, the Coleoptera were more abundant in the warmer and wet period, from October to March, with a few exceptions. The importance of the beetles, both as horn fl y natural enemies and as cattle dung decaying agents, is discussed.

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