Trophic associations of a dung beetle assemblage (Scarabaeidae : Scarabaeinae) in a woodland savanna of Botswana

  • Tshikae B
  • Davis A
  • Scholtz C
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Species richness and abundance of dung beetles were assessed across a range of bait types that acted as surrogates for the food resources available in Chobe National Park, Botswana. These bait types were comprised of the dung of pig (omnivore), cattle (ruminant herbivore dropping fine-fiberd pads), sheep (pellet-dropping ruminant herbivore), and elephant (monogastric, nonruminant herbivore producing coarse-fibered droppings), and chicken livers (carrion). Species richness was similar between traps baited with pig, cattle, and elephant dung but was relatively lower in those baited with sheep dung and carrion. In traps baited with pig dung, abundance was relatively greater than in all other bait types. A cluster analysis of species abundance distributions for the 30 most abundant species identified four different patterns of bait type association at a 60% level of similarity. All but 1 of the 15 species in cluster A were attracted primarily to the dung of omnivores and pad-dropping ruminant herbivores (pig and cattle). All seven species of cluster B were attracted primarily to coarse-fibered, nonruminant herbivore dung (elephant). All four species of cluster C were primarily carrion and pig dung associated, whereas all four species of cluster D were carrion specialists. In conclusion, the most abundant species were attracted to all bait types, but most species were largely specialized to different dung types or carrion, with dung attracting the majority of the fauna in terms of both species richness and abundance.

Author-supplied keywords

  • African savannas
  • Botswana
  • Scarabaeinae
  • bait types
  • trophic associations

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  • B P Tshikae

  • A L V Davis

  • C H Scholtz

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