Dung Burial by Native and Introduced Dung Beetles (Scarabaeidae)

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:1994
Authors:M. Tyndale-Biscoe
Journal:Australian Journal of Agricultural Research
Accession Number:ISI:A1994PQ61300013
Keywords:Australia, COLEOPTERA, dung beetle, ecological function, ecosystem service, onthophagus-binodis

The quantity of dung buried and shredded by dung beetles at four sites in south-eastern Australia was found to be positively correlated with the dry weight (biomass) of beetles in the pads. Each of the four sites has two abundant native species of dung beetles, and one to five well-established introduced species present. At Uriarra, where only one introduced species is common, a mean of 7.21+/-1.94% (1990-91) and 6.01+/-1.31% (1991-92) of the dung was buried per week. At Fyshwick, with two common introduced species of dung beetles, 22.27+/-4.03% (1990-91) and 12.04+/-2.72% (1991-92) of the dung was buried per week. Braidwood, with four introduced species, had a mean of 15.81+/-2.82% (1991-92) weekly dung buried, and Araluen, with five introduced species, had 30.18+/-8.73% (1992-93) dung buried per week. Dung beetle numbers were low at all sites during the first half of 1991-92 season due to a drought throughout the region. Dung shredding averaged less than 12% over the seasons at all sites, but fluctuated from 0 to 70%, depending mainly on beetle numbers in the dung pads on individual occasions. Increasing numbers of exotic dung beetles throughout the pastoral areas of Australia should result in increased amounts of dung buried and shredded, with correspondingly increased benefits to Australian agriculture.

URL:<Go to ISI>://A1994PQ61300013
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