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Title: Dung beetle species introductions: when an ecosystem service provider transforms into an invasive species
Contributor(s): Pokhrel, Min R  (author)orcid ; Cairns, Stuart C  (author); Andrew, Nigel R  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2020-09-25
Open Access: Yes
DOI: 10.7717/peerj.9872
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Abstract: Dung beetle introduction programmes were designed to accelerate exotic livestock dung degradation and to control dung breeding pestiferous flies and livestock parasites. The introduction programmes provided exotic dung beetle species with an opportunity to cross natural barriers and spread beyond their native range. There are no reports that explain what probable adaptation mechanisms enable particular dung beetle species to be the most successful invader. Here we identify the morphological, biological, physiological, ecological and behavioural attributes of the four most widespread and successful dung beetle species in introduced areas on a global scale in relation to the assumption that these species are different from other exotic and native dung beetles. We have recognised Digitonthophagus gazella (Fabricius), Onthophagus taurus (Schreber), Euoniticellus intermedius (Reiche) and Aphodius fimetarius (Linnaeus) as the most successful invaders based on their spread, predominance, distribution range and the reports of invasion. Each of these four species has different natural history traits that increase their fitness making them successful invaders. D. gazella has high fecundity and spreading ability, can instantly locate and colonise fresh and nutritious dung, and has a broad thermal window. O. taurus has morphological plasticity, high fecundity, high brood survival rate due to bi-parenting, and is adapted to extreme thermal and moisture conditions. E. intermedius has remnant-dung feeding abilities, a wide thermal window, functioning best at upper-temperature levels, and successful breeding and survival abilities at extremely low soil moisture conditions. A. fimetarius is small-sized, has high breeding and dispersal abilities, and is adapted to lower thermal and upper moisture extremes and variable soil conditions. Discussed here are perspectives on adaptive attributes of dung beetle species that are important to consider during their selection for redistributions. We have elaborated on the fitness and success characteristics of the four species individually. Further, we recommend a prior-introduction baseline monitoring of native dung beetle assemblages so as to evaluate the future impact of exotic dung beetle introductions on the recipient ecosystem.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: PeerJ, v.8, p. 1-27
Publisher: PeerJ, Ltd
Place of Publication: United Kingdom
ISSN: 2167-8359
Fields of Research (FoR) 2008: 050102 Ecosystem Function
050202 Conservation and Biodiversity
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 410203 Ecosystem function
410401 Conservation and biodiversity
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2008: 830499 Pasture, Browse and Fodder Crops not elsewhere classified
839804 Management of Solid Waste from Animal Production
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 100103 Management of solid waste from animal production
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Environmental and Rural Science

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