Dung beetles have the potential to improve pastures and help manage dung-breeding flies. In this study we determined the benefits of two species of dung beetles, Onthophagus gazella (F.) and Onthophagus taurus Schreber, on soil quality in the laboratory. Physical and chemical changes produced by the beetles were quantified. Test soil types included Cecil piedmont clay and coastal plain sandy-loam. These two soils are common in central and eastern North Carolina, respectively. Playground sand was used as a control soil. Treatments were bovine dung alone, dung plus O. gazella, dung plus O. taurus, and a no-dung control. The presence of beetles improved levels of K, Ca, Mg, Zn and Cu in the piedmont clay and playground sand. Beetles improved levels of Mn, Zn, Cu and K in the coastal plain soil, but did not significantly improve P, Ca, or Mg. The pH of all soils was significantly increased by the actions of the beetles.
Species 1: Coleoptera Scarabaeidae Onthophagus gazella (dung beetle)
Species 2: Coleoptera Scarabaeidae Onthophagus taurus (dung beetle)
Keywords: soil nutrients, pasture ecology
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