Natural Manuring and Soil Conditioning by Dung Beetles

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:1993
Authors:I. C. Mittal
Journal:Tropical Ecology
Keywords:Animalia-, Arthropoda-, Coleoptera-: Insecta-, Digestive-System (Ingestion-and-Assimilation), Ecology- (Environmental-Sciences), Invertebrata-, Nutrition-, Onitis-philemon (Coleoptera-), Onitis-virens (Coleoptera-), Onthophagus-, Physiology-, Soil-Science

To assess the role of dung beetles in conditioning and revitalizing the soil, field and laboratory studies were conducted on three species: Onitis philemon F., O. virens Lansb. and Onthophagus catta (F.). In addition to dung burial and soil excavation, the depth and diameter of their burrows, the nitrogen deposited and the work performed per unit area were also recorded. Dung incorporated per burrow was maximum by O. virens (43.8 +- 6.1 g), followed by O. philemon (21.2 +- 0.9 g) and O. catta (1.6 +- 0.2 g). However, the total work done in an area depended on their population density. Accordingly, the amount of dung deposited per hectare was largest by O. philemon (10.6 kg), followed by O. virens (6.6 kg) and O. catta (1.4 kg).

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