A simple assay to determine the nutrional suitability of cattle dung for coprophagous beetles

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:1989
Authors:H. H. Aschenborn, Loughnan, M. L., Edwards, P. B.
Journal:Entomologia experimentalis et applicata
Keywords:cattle dung, coprophagous beetles, dung beetle, Euoniticellus, food, mammals, nutrition, resources

An assay using extracted dung fluid was developed to provide an objective method of assessing the suitability of cattle dung for the dung beetle Euoniticellus intermedius. Fluid was extracted from whole dung by twisting gauze-wrapped samples by hand, or by use of an hydraulic press set sequentially at 2 MPa, 6 MPa and 10 MPa. Artificial dung was made by adding dung fluid to shredded fibre-board in a 15 : 1 weight ratio. The rate of brood-ball ( = egg) production by female E. intermedius fed on the artificial dung made from fluid extracted by the hydraulic press at 2 MPa was the same as that on natural whole dung. Reproductive performance on all artificial dungs was significantly correlated with the percent dry matter content of the dung fluid used in the mixture. Thus the percent dry matter in the fluid extracted at 2 MPa pressure provides an objective measurement for comparing the quality of different dungs as food for adult E. intermedius, without the need for performing bioassays. The results confirm that the fluid component of dung is the major source of nutrition for adult dung beetles.

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