Significance of moisture content of dung pats for colonisation and degradation of cattle dung
The moisture content of freshly voided faeces is important with regard to colonisation by fauna and the rate of degradation of dung pats. This paper reports 5 trials designed to clarify the influence of small changes in moisture content of dung pats on dung breeding Coleoptera (e.g. Scarabaeidae, Hydrophilidae, Staphylinidae), Diptera, nematodes and earthworms (Lumbricidae) and on degradation of the pats. Surface area wet weight and organic substance content were used as parameters for measurement of degradation. Special attention was given to a trial which compared naturally voided pats with pats formed artificially from faeces of the same animals. Results indicate that small differences in moisture content of 1-2% which may not be distinguishable by visual inspection, may have an impact on the development of Diptera, Coleoptera and earthworms and on dung degradation.