|Year of Publication:
|A. L. V. Davis, Scholtz, C. H., Dooley, P. W., Bharm, N., Kryger, U.
|South African Journal of Science
As integral members of pasture ecosystems in warmer climates, scarabaeine dung beetles are useful indicators both of high biodiversity in untransformed pastoral regions and of healthy pastures in untransformed or intensively farmed areas. We outline the use of dung beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Scarabaeinae) variously as biodiversity, ecological or environmental indicators at each of three spatial scales: regional, local, and pasture. At a regional scale, analyses of species distribution are useful both for determining regional boundaries, thus defining limits within which local comparisons are valid, and for defining group distribution centres, which facilitates comparison of biogeographical group compositions of local faunas. At a local scale, characteristic differences in species assemblage structure between natural and transformed habitats are useful both for conservation issues and for certification and marketing of high quality meat produced on natural pastures. At a pasture scale, species responses or assemblage structure may differ between dung containing residues and that lacking residues of avermectin or synthetic pyrethroid livestock pesticides. Thus, dung beetles are useful both for bioassaying the relative toxicity of old and newly developed veterinary products, and for developing more environmentally benign pest control practices. For each of the three spatial scales, we discuss goals, provide mini-reviews of pertinent results, and discuss further research.
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|S. Afr. J. Sci.