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Nutrient quality of vertebrate dung as a diet for dung beetles

Frank, Kevin and Brückner, Adrian and Hilpert, Andrea and Heethoff, Michael and Blüthgen, Nico (2017):
Nutrient quality of vertebrate dung as a diet for dung beetles.
In: Scientific Reports, Springer Nature, 7, (1), ISSN 2045-2322,
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-12265-y,
[Online-Edition: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-12265-y],
[Article]

Abstract

At the basis of a trophic web, coprophagous animals like dung beetles (Scarabaeoidea) utilize resources that may have advantages (easy gain and handling) as well as drawbacks (formerly processed food). Several studies have characterized the nutrients, e.g. C/N ratios and organic matter content, for specific types of dung. However, a comparative approach across dung types and feeding guilds of dung producers, and relationships between dung nutrients and preferences by coprophages, have been missing. Hence, we analyzed water content, C/N ratio, amino acid, neutral lipid fatty acid, free fatty acid and sterol composition and concentrations in dung from 23 vertebrates, including carnivore, omnivore and herbivore species. Our analyses revealed significant differences among the three vertebrate feeding guilds for most nutritional parameters. Although formerly processed, dung grants sufficient amounts of essential nutrients for insects. We tested whether nutrients can explain the dung beetles’ preferences in a field experiment, using 12 representative dung types in baits that were installed in 27 forests and 27 grasslands. Although consistent preferences for specific dung types were pronounced, the nutritional composition did not predict the variation in attractiveness of these dung diets, suggesting a primary role of dung volatiles irrespective of food quality.

Item Type: Article
Erschienen: 2017
Creators: Frank, Kevin and Brückner, Adrian and Hilpert, Andrea and Heethoff, Michael and Blüthgen, Nico
Title: Nutrient quality of vertebrate dung as a diet for dung beetles
Language: English
Abstract:

At the basis of a trophic web, coprophagous animals like dung beetles (Scarabaeoidea) utilize resources that may have advantages (easy gain and handling) as well as drawbacks (formerly processed food). Several studies have characterized the nutrients, e.g. C/N ratios and organic matter content, for specific types of dung. However, a comparative approach across dung types and feeding guilds of dung producers, and relationships between dung nutrients and preferences by coprophages, have been missing. Hence, we analyzed water content, C/N ratio, amino acid, neutral lipid fatty acid, free fatty acid and sterol composition and concentrations in dung from 23 vertebrates, including carnivore, omnivore and herbivore species. Our analyses revealed significant differences among the three vertebrate feeding guilds for most nutritional parameters. Although formerly processed, dung grants sufficient amounts of essential nutrients for insects. We tested whether nutrients can explain the dung beetles’ preferences in a field experiment, using 12 representative dung types in baits that were installed in 27 forests and 27 grasslands. Although consistent preferences for specific dung types were pronounced, the nutritional composition did not predict the variation in attractiveness of these dung diets, suggesting a primary role of dung volatiles irrespective of food quality.

Journal or Publication Title: Scientific Reports
Volume: 7
Number: 1
Publisher: Springer Nature
Divisions: 10 Department of Biology
Date Deposited: 15 Oct 2017 19:55
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-12265-y
Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-12265-y
URN: urn:nbn:de:tuda-tuprints-68713
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