Discontinuous gas exchange in dung beetles: patterns and ecological implications

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2000
Authors:F. D. Duncan, Byrne M. J.
Date Published:Mar
Accession Number:ISI:000086455000002
Keywords:ant, COLEOPTERA, discontinuous gas exchange cycle, formicidae, habitat association, hymenoptera, namib desert, respiration, Scarabaeidae, Scarabaeinae, south-africa, telecoprid, tenebrionid beetles, terrestrial insects, ventilatory patterns

This study correlates a distinctive pattern of external gas exchanger referred to as the discontinuous gas exchange cycle (DGC), observed in the laboratory, with habitat associations of five species of telecoprid dung beetles. The beetles were chosen from a variety of habitats that would be expected to present different amounts of water stress. All five species exhibited DGC. Sisyphus fasciculatus has been recorded only in woodland areas, and does not have strict spiracular control during its DGC. Anachalcos convexus and Scarabaeus rusticus are associated with open mesic habitats. Both species exhibit a distinct DGC, previously found in some other insect species, but intermediate within this study group. Sc. flavicornis and Circellium bacchus are typically found in arid regions, and have the most unusual form of DGC with spiracular fluttering during the burst phase. These results support the hypothesis that spiracular fluttering reduces respiratory water loss. From this study we conclude that the DGC is an ancestral adaptation. most probably as a result of anoxic environments in underground burrows, but that spiracular control is enhanced to reduce respiratory water lass in beetle species that live in arid habitats.

URL:<Go to ISI>://000086455000002
Alternate Journal:Oecologia
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