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it was in Guatemala it was really big like 4 inches sorry I don't have a better photo
This click beetle belongs to the species Chalcolepidius rugatus.
According to the original description, this species is clothed, dorsally with white pubescence, with the sides of pronotum and elytra marginated by yellow, and ventrally, with brown pubescence. source
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June beetle, (genus Phyllophaga), also called May beetle or June bug, genus of nearly 300 species of beetles belonging to the widely distributed plant-eating subfamily Melolonthinae (family Scarabaeidae, order Coleoptera). These red-brown beetles commonly appear in the Northern Hemisphere during warm spring evenings and are attracted to lights.
The heavy-bodied June beetles vary from 12 to 25 mm (0.5 to 1 inch) and have shiny wing covers (elytra). They feed on foliage and flowers at night, sometimes causing considerable damage. June beetle larvae, called white grubs, are about 25 mm (1 inch) long and live in the soil. They can destroy crops (e.g., corn [maize], small grains, potatoes, and strawberries), and they can kill lawns and pastures by severing grasses from their roots.
Each female buries between 50 and 200 small pearl-like eggs in the soil. After three years of feeding on plant roots, the larvae pupate, emerge as adults in late summer, and then bury themselves again for the winter. In the spring the adults emerge once more and feed on available foliage. Adults live less than one year.
A natural enemy of the June beetle is the waved light fly ( Pyrgota undata). The female fly lays an egg under the beetle’s elytra, where it hatches and feeds on the beetle, eventually killing it. Some small mammals, such as moles, are known to feed on the grubs, and June beetle larvae are considered excellent fish bait.
(For information on the related green June beetle [Cotinus nitida] or the ten-lined June beetle [Polyphylla decemlineata], see flower chafer.)
The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica This article was most recently revised and updated by Adam Augustyn, Managing Editor, Reference Content.
What type of guatemala beetle is this? - Biology
The relationship between mountain pine beetle and their host pine trees has been evolving for hundreds of years. The anatomy of the beetle reflects this relationship with adaptations designed specifically for penetrating the bark and phloem of the host tree.
In general, bark beetles have a hard exoskeleton, a three-region body (head, thorax, and abdomen), two compound eyes, three pairs of jointed legs, and two antennae. The legs and wings are attached to the thorax. The front pair of hardened wings forms the “elytra” which protect the hind wings. Mountain pine beetle are small, dull (not shiny), cylindrical, and have elbowed, club-like antennae. The following is a detailed description of mountain pine beetle anatomy.
What’s in a name?
Many Latin names in the classification system describe anatomical features that separate one group of animals from another. Mountain pine beetle is a part of these larger groups in the classification system, and their names provide information about their bodies:
Kingdom: Animalia, meaning all living or extinct animals
Phylum: Arthropoda, meaning “jointed limbs”
Class: Insecta – meaning “incised.” This refers to the fact that insects generally have a sharp division between the head and thorax and between the thorax and abdomen.
Order: Coleoptera – includes all beetles – and means “sheath wings” – referring to the hardened forewings or “elytra” that cover the membranous – see through – hind wings
|Mountain Pine Beetle Anatomy . |
© Diagram modeled after Hopkins 1909. Interpreted by Malcolm Furniss and labelled by Niki Wilson.
Region 1: The head
Unlike the thorax and abdomen, the head is not segmented. Found on the head are the eyes, antennae and the mouthparts. Inside the head is the “brain” that is made up of “ganglia” which are clusters of nerve cells. From the brain a double nerve cord runs back along the bottom of the body and coordinates activities like feeding and flying.
Beetles have “compound eyes.” Each eye is made up of many units called “ommatidia”. There can be thousands of ommatidia in a single beetle eye. Through the ommatidia, beetles see in patterns of light and dark dots. Much like the resolution of an image on our computer, the number and size of the dots (or ommatidia) affect how well the beetle can see. In some ways, seeing through a beetle eye is like looking through a kaleidoscope: there are many images instead of just one. The compound eye is excellent at detecting motion. As an object moves across the visual field, ommatidia are turned on and off in response. As a result of this "flicker effect", insects respond far better to moving objects than stationary ones. Despite all of these ommatidia, beetles can’t see as effectively as humans, and must also rely on other senses to move around.
Each mountain pine beetle has a set of antennae on its head. Antennae are very important to beetles, as they provide constant information about touch, smell and taste. Beetles use taste and smell receptors on their antennae to locate food and also to identify pheromones.
|All bark beetles are characterized by antennae that are enlarged at the end. This structure contains receptors (the pointed projections) which detect odors of tree resin and mates, thus it functions as the beetle's nose. Illustrated is the antenna of the red turpentine beetle, which infests the base of many pine species. |
© Malcolm Furniss
Mountain pine beetle need strong mouthparts to be able to chew through bark and phloem. Their mouthparts move in a cutting motion like scissors.
Region 2: The thorax
The thorax is the middle body region – between the head and the abdomen – that serves as an attachment point for the legs and wings. This is where the heart is located which pumps blood toward the front of the body. Blood does not circulate through vessels, but passes freely between and around body organs. The thorax itself is composed of 3 segments, with a pair of legs located on each segment and 2 pairs of wings found on the second and third segment. The thorax is where the muscles are located that help the beetle walk, jump and fly.
Adult beetles have 6 legs. Each of the segments of the thorax bears 1 pair of legs. The legs are jointed, and the last segment of the leg bears a small claw.
When beetles walk, a foreleg and hind leg on one side and a middle leg on the other are always touching the ground. This creates a “tripod” on which the beetle balances, and on the next step the beetle alternates to the other three legs to form a new tripod. Walking from tripod to tripod is called “hexapody.”
The mountain pine beetle has two pairs of wings found on the second and third segment of the thorax. One pair is the hard-shelled outer wings called the “elytra”. These are not used for flying, but to protect the beetle’s flying set of wings and its body as it crawls through narrow passages and tunnels in a tree. The second set of wings is membranous or see-through, and is folded under the elytra when not in use.
Region 3: The abdomen
The abdomen is the posterior or last of the three body regions in the mountain pine beetle. It is the biggest body part and is composed of 11 segments. The abdomen holds the beetle's digestive system and reproductive organs, and is also where beetles breathe! Beetles don’t have lungs like mammals do – instead they breathe through a series of holes in their abdomens called “spiracles.” Air passes directly into the abdomen through the spiracles and circulates through the body by a system of branching tubes.
Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle
The coconut rhinoceros beetle (CRB) is a large scarab beetle that is native to Southeast Asia. It was accidentally introduced from Sri Lanka to Samoa in 1909 and is now distributed throughout the South Pacific. In its native range, the coconut rhinoceros beetle can be attacked by a variety of predators at all life stages and is also susceptible to a fungus and a virus that keep the populations in check. CRB is one of the most damaging pest of coconut palms, and could pose a threat to other species including Hawaii’s only native and endangered palm, the Loulu (genus Pritchardia).
- Adult coconut rhinoceros beetles are about 30-60mm long (about 2 inches) solid, black beetles.
- Both male and female CRB have a horn on their head, though the male’s horn is more than twice as long as the female’s.
- Eggs are laid and develop inside rotting coconut logs, mulch or compost piles.
- Eggs hatch into C-shaped, larval grubs that can grow to be 60-105mm (2.3-4.1 inches) long.
- Grubs feed on decaying wood and organic material for about 4-6 months before pupating.
- After a pupation phase of about 2 weeks, adults emerge.
- Adult CRB are active at night and live between 4-9 months.
Oriental flower beetles have been in Hawai’i since 2002 and are widespread. The oriental flower beetle is the largest beetle on O’ahu and is often mistaken for the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle, however there are some distinct difference that can help you identify between the two beetles. PHOTO COMPARISON
Insect and mite penetration and contamination of packaged foods
Tribolium confusum J. du Val and Tribolium castaneum (Herbst)
A common pest of flour mills, the confused flour beetle was thought to be conspecific with T. castaneum the rust-red flour beetle until 1868, being of similar size (c. 4 mm) and colour. In addition to cereals and cereal products, T. confusum is also known to infest copra, groundnuts, sesame and oilseeds. Fungi and other insect remains can be utilised in the diet. Adults are extremely longlived (1–3 years), and tolerant of cold and very low humidity. The developmental range is 20–38 °C with an optimum of 30–32 °C, at which a 60-fold increase in population is achievable on an optimal food in a 28-day period at 70% r.h. ( Howe, 1965 Arbogast, 1991 ).
Worldwide the rust-red or red flour beetle T. castaneum ( Fig. 4.2c ) is perhaps the most frequently intercepted pest of stored products. It is the primary pest of flour mills, maltings and food processing premises, adults and larvae feeding on all cereal products, groundnuts, cacao, spices, dried figs and dates, copra, dried yam, palm kernels, various nuts, oilseeds and cotton seed. Its rapid development and readiness to breed in the laboratory have made it a popular tool in physiological and genetic studies. Like many other tenebrionids, the free ranging larvae and adults are predatory on other species. The life cycle can be completed between 22 and 40 °C with an optimum of 32–35 °C at which, on an optimal food at 70% r.h., a population increase of up to 70 times can be achieved over 28 days ( Howe, 1965 Arbogast, 1991 ), the highest rate of increase achieved by any stored product insect. Adults live for 1–2 years, are capable of flight in warmer conditions and are cold hardy.
Adults of Tribolium spp. have long been known to produce quinones, which at high population densities tend to trigger dispersion.
II. Bacillus as Bacterial Insecticide
a) Bacillus thuringiensis
B. thuringiensis (Bt) is widely used bacilli which can control insects such as moths, beetle, flies, aphids, butterflies, and even some pathogenic fungi like Pythium ultimum. The mechanism of Bt to control the insects is depending on its toxins. The endotoxin is a crystallized protein that is soluble in alkaline conditions. The pH in the gut of an insect is mostly alkaline and as it ingested the toxin, the toxin easily dissolves in the midgut region. Then proteases come into action by digesting the toxin which leads to the production of small active fragments. These active fragments then bind to the gut epithelial membrane and create pores which leads to disturbance in osmotic equilibrium. This results in the death of the insects. Several agricultural plants were genetically modified with the gene responsible for toxin production in Bt., such plants are Bt. Brinjal, Bt. Tomato etc.
b) Other Bacillus species
B. thuringiensis is one of the bacillus species which is used widely to control insects. However, there are other Bacillus species such as B. papilliae and B. lentimorbus which play an important role in controlling insects such as Japanese beetle.
After the discovery of A. planipennis in North America, we initiated research on the biology, prevalence, host interactions, and natural enemies of this buprestid in China and Michigan. This has also involved developing methods to rear A. planipennis in the laboratory and field.
Knowledge of A. planipennis biology has provided us with more understanding of usefulness of various management tools for this invasive pest in North America. It has also allowed us with to develop management tools, which are currently being test in the field.
Life Cycle. In Michigan, emerald ash borer (EAB ) completes one generation every one or two years. Eggs are laid from mid June and well into August. Female EAB deposit their eggs individually on ash trees, between layers of outer bark and in cracks and crevices of the trunk and major branches. EAB eggs hatch in about two weeks, depending on temperature.
The new larvae tunnel through the bark to the cambial region and feed on phloem. Phloem is a thin layer of tissue beneath the outer bark and conducts sugars and other nutrients throughout the tree.
Larvae etch galleries in the outer sapwood during feeding. These galleries are typically S-shaped (serpentine) and packed with larval frass or waste. At high larval densities, individual galleries overlap due to overcrowding and are less defined.
As EAB populations increase over the years after initial infestation, larval development becomes more synchronized, and the majority of larvae mature during September. These fully-grown larvae spend the winter folded inside a small pupation cell constructed in the outer sapwood or outer bark. Younger larvae spend the winter in feeding galleries in the phloem and outer sapwood and may feed another summer before reaching the adult stage.
During April and May of the next year, the overwintering mature larvae will pupate inside their pupation cells and gradually transform into adults.
After one to two weeks, these new adults chew D-shaped exit holes in the bark and emerge from the ash trees. Adult emergence starts in late May and peaks in June, however, some adults may continue to emerge throughout the summer. EAB adults are capable of flight upon emergence and spend most of the day feeding on ash leaves up in the ash canopy.
These are active, sun-loving beetles, and after emergence they start mating after about one week and laying eggs in about three weeks. The best time to observe these bright green metallic beetles in the field is during mating and egg-laying, which occurs during the afternoon (3PM to 7PM) on sunny, warm days from mid June through mid July when they are found crawling on and hovering around the trunks of ash trees. Females live about two months and males about one month. On average, females lay about 55 eggs during their lifetime, but some individuals may lay more than 150 eggs.
Other signs and symptoms of attack include weak and thinning ash crowns, branches with yellowing leaves, epicormic shoots or suckers on ash limbs and trunks, bark splits, and D-shaped exit holes on the trunk. If large numbers of EAB exit holes are present on the main trunk, the tree will not survive except possibly through stump sprouting. Ash regeneration by stump sprouting occurs more commonly when young ash trees are top-killed by EAB or when the trees are felled and the stumps are retained.
Ladybugs, also called lady beetles or ladybird beetles, are a very beneficial group. They are natural enemies of many insects, especially aphids and other sap feeders. A single lady beetle may eat as many as 5,000 aphids in its lifetime. Many species of lady beetles are present in Kentucky and they are common in most habitats.
Adult lady beetles have very characteristic convex, hemispherical to oval shaped bodies that can be yellow, pink, orange, red, or black, and usually are marked with distinct spots. This is a type of warning coloration to discourage other animals that may try to eat them. Like many other brightly-colored insects, they are protected by an odorous, noxious fluid that seeps out of their joints when the insects are disturbed. The bright body coloration helps some predators to remember the encounter and avoid attacking insects with similar markings.
Figure 1. Lady beetle larva feeding on aphids
Figure 2. Cluster of lady beetle eggs
Adult females usually lay clusters of eggs on plants close to aphid, scale, or mealybug colonies. The alligator-like larvae are also predators. They are spiny and black with bright spots. Although they look dangerous, lady beetle larvae are quite harmless to humans. After feeding on insect prey for several weeks, the larva pupates on a leaf. Adults tend to move on once pests get scarce, while the larvae remain and search for more prey.
Some lady beetle species have several generations each year while others have only one. During the summer months, all stages often can be found at the same time. Adults of some species spend the winter clustered together in large groups under leaf litter, rocks, or other debris.
Common Kentucky Lady Beetles
While there are many species of lady beetles in Kentucky, a few are very common in agricultural fields, home gardens and landscapes, and wooded areas. These include: Coleomegilla maculata, sometimes called the pink spotted lady beetle has a medium-sized, oblong pink to red body marked with black spots. Both adults and larvae are important aphid predators but also eat mites, insect eggs, and small larvae. Unlike most lady beetles, plant pollen may make up to 50% of the diet.
Figure 3. Coleomegilla maculata is a pink lady beetle and is very common.
Harmonia axyridis, the Asian lady beetle, a large orange lady beetle that may or may not have spots. The segment over the head is white with a black ‘M’. In the fall, aggregations of Asian lady beetle find their way into homes. These beetles are a nuisance and can ruin rugs and other furniture with their secretions. Fortunately, they do not breed or feed inside the home. For complete information on managing Asian lady beetle problems in the home, See ENTFACT-416, “Asian Lady Beetle Infestation of Structures.”
Figure 4. Asian lady beetle is a beneficial insect in the field and nuisance pest in homes.
Hippodamia convergens, the convergent lady beetle, a medium sized orange and black species that is commonly sold for biological control of aphids.
Figure 5. Convergent lady beetle and larva in common and can be purchased commercially.
Coccinella septempunctata, sevenspotted lady beetle, sometimes called ‘C-7', is a medium-sized, orange beetle with seven black spots. It is a European species that was introduced into the US to aid in managing some aphid pests.
Figure 6. Seven-spotted lady beetle is common on many crops.
Plant Feeding Lady Beetles?
There two species of lady beetles in Kentucky that feed on plants rather than insects. They are the Mexican bean beetle and the squash beetle. Both are very easy to recognize. Mexican bean beetle adults, which feed on garden beans and occasionally soybeans, have orange bodies with eight black spots on each wing cover, Squash beetles, which attack squash, pumpkin, and cantaloupe, have only seven spots. The larvae are also very distinctive and shouldn't be mistaken for predaceous larvae, because they have large forked spines across their yellowish orange bodies.
Figure 7. While the squash beetle is a type of lady beetle, these feed only on plants and are considered pests.
Figure 8. Mexican bean beetle attacks many different types of beans feeding on the undersides of leaves.
Figure 9, Larvae of the Mexican bean beetle and squash beetle with their yellow bodies and spines look very different from other lady beetle larvae.
Conserving Lady Beetles
Lady beetles can play an important role in managing some insect pests in crops and landscapes. Here are some things that you can do to maximize their impact.
- Learn to recognize the different stages of these beneficial insects.
- Make insecticide applications only when necessary and use selective insecticides or limited treatments to avoid killing lady beetles.Add plants that can provide pollen and nectar for lady beetles. These are important components of the diets of some species.
CAUTION! Pesticide recommendations in this publication are registered for use in Kentucky, USA ONLY! The use of some products may not be legal in your state or country. Please check with your local county agent or regulatory official before using any pesticide mentioned in this publication.
Of course, ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW LABEL DIRECTIONS FOR SAFE USE OF ANY PESTICIDE!
Bio-Pesticides Types: Bio-Herbicides and Bio-Insecticides
Bio-pesticides are those biological agents that are used for control of weeds, insects and pathogens.
The micro-organisms used as bio-pesticides are viruses, bacteria, protozoa, fungi and mites. Some of the bio-pesticides are being used on a commercial scale.
Most important example is the soil bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). Spores of this bacterium possess the insecticidal Cry protein.
Therefore, spores of this bacterium kill larvae of certain insects. The commercial preparations of B. thuringiensis contain a mixture of spores, Cry protein and an inert carrier.
This bacterium was the first bio-pesticide to be used on a commercial scale in the world, and is the first bio-pesticide being produced on a commercial scale in India.
Bio-pesticides are of two types: bio-herbicides and bio-insecticides.
Herbicides are chemicals that are used for inhibiting the growth of plants in unwanted places. Herbicides used for controlling weeds in the cultivated areas are called weedicides. A number of risks are involved in the use of chemical herbicides. This can be avoided if herbicide resistance can be introduced in the crop plants. It is possible through genetic engineering or recombinant DNA technology. Transgenic Tomato and Tobacco plants have been developed which show tolerance to specific herbicides.
Certain crop plants do not allow the weeds to grow nearby. They are called smoother crops, e.g., Barley, Rye, Sorghum, Millet, Sweet clover, Alfalfa, Soybean, Sunflower. Smoother crops eliminate weeds through chemicals. Crop rotation with these crops will naturally reduce the incidence of weeds.
Another way of weed control is the introduction of specific insects which feed on the weeds. Extensive growth of Opuntia in India and Australia was checked through the introduction of its natural herbivore, cochineal insect (Cactoblastis cactorum). Similarly, growth of Hypericum perforatum or Klamath weed was checked by U.S.A. through the introduction of Chrysolina beetles.
An organism which controls or destroys unwanted plant growth without harming the useful plant is called bioherbicide. The first bioherbicide happened to be mycoherbicide. It was put to use in 1981. The herbicide is Phytophthora palmivora. The fungus does not allow the Milkweed Vine to grow in Citrus orchards. Growth of Eichhornia crassipes (Water Hyacinth) is being controlled by Cercospora rodmanii in USA and Alternaria eichhorniae in India.
Puccinia chondrilla has controlled the growth of skeleton weed, Chondrilla juncea in Australia. Fungal spores are now available to be sprayed over weeds for their elimination. Two of them are ‘Devine’ and ‘Collego’. The spores are ideal for marketing because they can tolerate adverse conditions and can remain viable for long periods.
Bio-insecticides are those biological agents that are used to control harmful insects. They include the following.
Destructive insects or plant pests can be brought under control through introduction of their natural predators. The predators should be specific and unable to harm the useful insects. Introduction of ladybugs (Lady Bird Beetles) and Praying Mantis has been successful in combating scale insects or aphids which feed on plant sap.
(b) Parasites and Pathogens:
This is alternate biological control of plant pests through the search of their natural parasites and pathogens. They include viruses, bacteria, fungi and insect parasitoids. Parasitoids are organisms that live as parasites for some time (as early or larval stage) and free living at other times, e.g., Trichogramma. Nucleopolyhedrovirus (NPV) are species specific.
For example, Baculovirus heliothis (a virus) can control Cotton bollworm (Heliothis Zea). Similarly, Bacillus thuringenesis (a bacterium) is effective against the cabbage looper (Trichoplausiani) and Entomophthora ignobilis (a fungus) the green peach aphid of Potato (Myzus persicae). In U.S.S.R. the fungus Beauveria bassiana has been successfully employed in controlling Potato beetle and Codling moth.
(c) Natural Insecticides:
They are insecticides and related pesticides which are obtained from microbes and plants. A number of natural insecticides are available. The common ones include (i) Azadirachtin from Margosa or Neem (Azadirachta indica). It occurs in Margosa extract. Spray of the same keeps away the Japanese beetles and other leaf eating pests because of the antifeedant property of azadirachtin. (ii) Rotenones. They are powerful insecticides which are harmless to warm blooded animals. Chinese are believed to be first to discover their insecticidal properties. Rotenones are obtained from the roots of Derris elliptica and Lonchocarpus nicou. (iii) Squill. The red variety of Sea Onion (Red Squill, Ureginea maritima) produces a radicide which does not have any harmful effect on other animals, (iv) Nicotine. It is obtained from Nicotiana species. The purified chemical is highly poisonous. Nicotine sulphate is one of the most toxic insecticides, (v) Pyrethrum.
It is an insecticide which is obtained from the inflorescence of Chrysanthemum cinerarifolium (Dalmation Pyrethrum), C. coccineum and C. marshallii. The active compounds are pyrethrin and cinerin. Pyrethrin is also used in fly sprays, aerosols, mosquito coils, etc. (vi) Thurioside. It is a toxin produced by bacterium Bacillus thuringenesis. The toxin is highly effective against different groups of insects like moths, flies, mosquitoes and beetles. It does not cause any adverse environmental pollution or disturbance.
Click to enlarge image Toggle Caption
- Classification Family Scarabaeidae Super Family Scarabaeoidea Order Coleoptera Class Insecta Phylum Arthropoda Kingdom Animalia
- Size Range 2 mm - 30 mm
Image: Andrew Donnelly
© Australian Museum
Dung beetles serve a number of very important ecological functions including soil aeration and nutrient transfer as well as breaking down dung and preventing flies from breeding in it.
- Dung beetles have three body parts - a head, a prothorax and an abdomen.
- The body consists of a hard outside cuticle and folded wings that lie over the upper surface of the abdomen and are covered by wing covers.
- The wings are transparent or whitish in colour and are only visible if the beetle is in flight.
- Dung beetles have six legs that are specialised for shovelling dung and earth.
- Dung beetles come in a variety of colours. The most common colour of dung beetles in Australia is black.
Australia has more than 500 species of native dung beetles and 29 species of dung beetles were successfully introduced from Hawaii, Africa and southern Europe. The introduced dung beetles are very useful in Australia's agricultural regions
Most dung beetle species reproduce in the warmer months of spring, summer and autumn.
Feeding and diet
The majority of dung beetles feed on dung, both in their adult and larval phase. However, many dung beetles feed on a variety of things, including mushrooms, decomposing leaves and other rotting matter. Adult dung beetles have mouth parts which are specially adapted to feed on liquefied material and can break down a dung pad very efficiently by burying the dung underground to use when breeding.
Life history cycle
A pair of dung beetles (a male and a female) may work together, digging a nest to create a burrow beneath the dung pad. The dung is taken into the burrow in either a ball or an irregular mass. The female lays her eggs in the burrow. The eggs hatch into larvae, which feed on the dung surrounding it.
The larvae will go through three skin changes to reach the non-feeding pupal stage. Male larvae develop into major or minor males depending on how much dung is available to them during their larval phases. Some dung beetle larvae are able to survive unfavourable conditions, such as droughts, by stopping development and remaining inactive for several months. The pupae turn into adult dung beetles, which break out of the dung ball and dig their way to the surface. The newly formed adults will fly to a new dung pad and the whole process starts over.
Dung beetles serve a number of very important ecological functions. The digging activity of tunnelling beetles results in the aeration of soil as well as the transfer of nutrients to the soil by releasing the nutrients in the dung. Also, dung beetles break down dung and prevent flies from breeding in it.
Studying dung beetles
Scientists use invertebrates such as dung beetles for research. Traditionally, plants (especially trees) and vertebrates such as birds, and lizards have been used for biodiversity and conservation research. This is because they are easy to see and easily identified. But this only looks at a tiny proportion of biodiversity.
Too often, invertebrates have been ignored in biodiversity studies because they are considered too difficult to work with because there are too many of them, many have not been named, and their biology remains largely unknown. While these objections are true for most invertebrates, they do not apply to dung beetles. Dung beetles have a well-defined biology, the species are all named and have keys for their identification, and there are not too many of them - at most there are only 200 kinds of dung beetle in the whole of New South Wales compared to 800 kinds of ants). Moreover, dung beetles are easy to sample because they are attracted to baited traps.
In recent research, the Australian Museum was interested in obtaining more accurate knowledge about the distribution of dung beetle species in New South Wales for the following reasons:
- many species of dung beetles have small distribution ranges
- some species may be endangered
- some areas are rich in species while others are not
- many areas have not been sampled.
Such a study may also give us other valuable information, such as the relationship between soil type and vertebrate abundance. Also, researching dung beetles is useful when studying beetles' competitive and sexual behaviour.
Australia’s native dung beetles which evolved with the marsupials, were not adapted to use and disperse cattle dung effectively, causing several problems. In response CSIRO introduced 29 species from Africa and Europe to assist with the breakdowmn of the large amounts of cattle and sheep dung.