Structure and Function of the Mandibles of Adult Dung Beetles (Coleoptera, Scarabaeidae)

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:1983
Authors:K. Hata, Edmonds W. D.
Journal:International Journal of Insect Morphology & Embryology
ISBN Number:0020-7322
Accession Number:ISI:A1983QH07000001
Keywords:Aphodiinae, dung beetle, feeding actions, feeding ecology, Geotrupinae, Mouthparts, Scarabaeinae

The mouthparts of adult dung beetles (Coleoptera : Scarabaeidae) are adapted for manipulation of soft, pasty food—usually the excrement of vertebrates. Nutrients are derived primarily from micro-organisms contained in the food and these must be broken up before ingestion. The mandibles, particularly the molar lobes, are designed to finely grind these particulates; the molae function as a mortar-pestle system, which mills the organic “grist” contained in the food by a combination of squeezing and grinding actions. The ability of the molae to finely grind food particles resides primarily in the structure of the molar surface, which consists of a series of ridges bearing rows of submicroscopic scrapers (“tritors”). The incisor lobes of the mandibles scrape food from the surfaces of the galeae and lacinae, which bring food into the preoral cavity. The structure of the mouthparts of Canthon pilularius (L.), which is described in detail, is basically the same as that of 10 other species examined. Those of Aphodius and Geotrupes are similar in some respects to those of scarabaeines but are obviously less well specialized for microphagy.Subject-index terms:

URL:<Go to ISI>://A1983QH07000001
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