Habitat selection and offspring survival rate in three paracoprid dung beetles: the influence of soil type and soil moisture

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:1995
Authors:P. Sowig

Paracoprid dung beetles build brood chambers in the soil beneath a dung pat and provide them with dung Onthophagus species lay one egg into each chamber This paper deals with the influence of soil type and soil moisture on micro-habitat selection and survival of offspring m three middle-European Onthophagus-species (O coenobita, O fracticonis and O vacca) Discrimination between sandy soils with three different loam contents (0%, 20%, 40%) and four different water contents (4%, 8%, 12%, 16%) was tested in the laboratory During the first 24 h of each replicate beetles which colonized one of the patches did not distinguish between different soil conditions Emigration rates, measured as time when 50% of all individuals had left the patch, and numbers of brood chambers proved to be species specific and depended on soil moisture and soil type Survival rates of the larvae in the brood chambers were influenced nearly exclusively by soil moisture The results are discussed in relation to the ecology of the three species and in context with optimal foraging theories

Alternate Journal:Ecography
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