Scarabaeine dung beetles as indicators of biodiversity, habitat transformation and pest control chemicals in agro-ecosystems

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2004
Authors:A. L. V. Davis, Scholtz, C. H., Dooley, P. W., Bharm, N., Kryger, U.
Journal:South African Journal of Science
Date Published:Sep-Oct
Accession Number:ISI:000226240500005
Keywords:Dung beetles

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.

URL:<Go to ISI>://000226240500005
Alternate Journal:S. Afr. J. Sci.
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith