A comparative discussion of trophic preferences in dung beetle communities

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:1996
Authors:F. Martin-Piera, Lobo J. M.
Journal:Miscellania Zoologica Barcelona
Date Published:1996
Accession Number:199799362225
Keywords:Animalia-, Arthropoda-, Behavior-, Chordata-, Coleoptera-: Insecta-, Digestive-System (Ingestion-and-Assimilation), dung-beetles (Coleo, Ecology- (Environmental-Sciences), Hominidae-: Primates-, Invertebrata-, Mammalia-, Nutrition-, Vertebrata-

Available information on trophic preferences of dung beetles (Scarabaeoidea) in different biogeographic regions is reviewed. Trophic resource partitioning in a dung beetle (Coleoptera, Scarabaeoidea) community in the "Parque Nacional de Donana", Spain, was also studied, using nine different kinds of wild and domestic vertebrate excrement as trap bait. Undifferentiated attraction to human and herbivore faeces was noted. Human and domestic ungulate faeces was colonized by a richer fauna than that of wild herbivores, which was not the specialized trophic adaptation of any species. Although polyphagy is the most common feeding behaviour, the excrement of carnivores and other omnivores was hardly colonized. This pattern differs from that of other biogeographic regions. Negligible importance of the trophic dimension on the structure of these communities may be due to the early presence of man in the Palaearctic Region. Nevertheless, human interference alone cannot have led to an absence of true polyphagy (undifferentiated attraction to all kinds of faeces). Further research is suggested, aimed at determining whether observed resource partitioning in dung beetles communities is a consequence of human colonization or is a pre-Neolithic evolutionary event.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith