Seasonal activity and species composition of dung beetles (Coleoptera : Scarabaeidae and Geotrupidae) inhabiting cattle pastures in North Carolina

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2005
Authors:M. Bertone, Green, J., Washburn, S., Poore, M., Sorenson, C., D. Watson, W.
Journal:Annals Of The Entomological Society Of America
Date Published:May
Accession Number:ISI:000228963400009
Keywords:African buffalo fly, aphodius, bovine dung, canada, cattle, coastal-plain, diptera, dung beetle, flies, growth, habitat, muscidae, north america, north carolina dung beetle, Onthophagus, onthophagus-taurus, piedmont, SURVIVAL

Species composition and seasonal distribution of dung beetles were studied on dairy and beef cattle pastures in North Carolina. Study sites included a dairy located in the piedmont region (North Carolina Department of Agriculture Piedmont Research Station, Salisbury, NC) and a combined dairy/beef facility in the coastal plain (North Carolina Department of Agriculture Center for Environmental Farming Systems, Goldsboro, NC). Dung beetles were trapped in cattle pastures from March 2002 through September 2003 by using dung-baited pitfall traps. Trapping yielded 4,111 beetles representing 14 species from the piedmont dairy, including Aphodius prodromus Brahm, a new record for North Carolina. Totals of 57,026 beetles representing 28 species and 28,857 beetles representing 26 species were trapped from the dairy unit and beef unit in the coastal plain site, respectively. Onthophagus gazella (F.), a second new record for North Carolina, was collected from the coastal plain. Beetles common to all collection sites include Aphodius erraticus (L.), Aphodius fimetarius (L.), Aphodius granarius (L.), Aphodius pseudolividus Balthasar, Onthophagus tattrus Scbreber, Onthophagus hecate hecate Panzer, and Onthophagus pennsylvanicus Harold. The introduced beetle O. taurus dominated the dung beetle population, accounting for > 50% of the total beetles caught at either site. Beetle activity was greatest from March until November, with activity declining during the winter. Nine exotic species in the genera Onthophagus and Aphodius represented nearly 95% of the beetles trapped.

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