© 2016 Franzini et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Micro-organisms inhabiting animal guts benefit from a protected and nutrient-rich environment while assisting the host with digestion and nutrition. In this study we compare, for the first time, the bacterial and fungal gut communities of two species of the small desert dung beetle genus Pachysoma feeding on different diets: The detritivorous P. endroedyi and the dry-dung-feeding P. striatum. Whole-gut microbial communities from 5 individuals of each species were assessed using 454 pyrosequencing of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene and fungal ITS gene regions. The two bacterial communities were significantly different, with only 3.7% of operational taxonomic units shared, and displayed intra-specific variation. The number of bacterial phyla present within the guts of P. endroedyi and P. striatum individuals ranged from 6-11 and 4-7, respectively. Fungal phylotypes could only be detected within the gut of P. striatum. Although the role of host phylogeny in Pachysoma microbiome assembly remains unknown, evidence presented in this study suggests that host diet may be a deterministic factor.
Franzini, P. Z. N., Ramond, J. B., Scholtz, C. H., Sole, C. L., Ronca, S., & Cowan, D. A. (2016). The gut Microbiomes of two Pachysoma Macleay desert dung beetle species (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Scarabaeinae) feeding on different diets. PLoS ONE, 11(8). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0161118