3 years ago

Experimental warming disrupts reproduction and dung burial by a ball‐rolling dung beetle

Nigel R. Andrew, Jean M. Holley

Abstract

1. Insects are sensitive to climate change. Consequently, insect‐mediated ecosystem functions and services may be altered by changing climates.

2. Dung beetles provide multiple services by burying manure. Using climate‐controlled chambers, the effects of warming on dung burial and reproduction by the dung beetle Sisyphus rubrus Paschalidis, 1974 were investigated. Sisyphus rubrus break up dung by forming and rolling away balls of manure for burial and egg deposition.

3. To simulate warming in the chambers, 0, 2 or 4 °C offsets were added to field‐recorded, diurnally fluctuating temperatures. We measured dung ball production and burial, egg laying, survival and residence times of beetles.

4. Temperature did not affect the size or number of dung balls produced; however warming reduced dung ball burial by S. rubrus. Because buried balls were more likely to contain eggs, warming could reduce egg laying via a reduction in ball burial. Warming reduced the humidity inside the chambers, and a positive relationship was found between the number of dung balls produced and humidity in two temperature treatments. Temperature did not affect survival, or whether or not a beetle left a chamber. Beetles that did leave the chambers took longer to do so in the warmest treatment.

5. This study demonstrates that climate warming could reduce reproduction and dung burial by S. rubrus, and is an important first step to understanding warming effects on burial services. Future studies should assess warming effects in field situations, both on individual dung beetle species and on aggregate dung burial services.

You might also like
Discover & Discuss Important Research

Keeping up-to-date with research can feel impossible, with papers being published faster than you'll ever be able to read them. That's where Researcher comes in: we're simplifying discovery and making important discussions happen. With over 19,000 sources, including peer-reviewed journals, preprints, blogs, universities, podcasts and Live events across 10 research areas, you'll never miss what's important to you. It's like social media, but better. Oh, and we should mention - it's free.

  • Download from Google Play
  • Download from App Store
  • Download from AppInChina

Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.