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J Parasitol. 1992 Oct;78(5):845-8.

Reduced splash dispersal of bovine parasitic nematodes from cow pats by the dung beetle Diastellopalpus quinquedens.

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Department of Veterinary Microbiology, Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Frederiksberg, Denmark.


From a thoroughly mixed portion of cattle feces with Cooperia sp. eggs, 1-kg artificial pats were placed in 6 buckets containing 6 kg of soil each. Ten dung beetles, Diastellopalpus quinquedens, were added to each of 3 buckets. The remaining 3 buckets served as controls without beetles. When infective parasite larvae (L3) had developed in the cow pats indoors, the following procedure was followed. During occasions of rainfall each bucket was placed outdoors in the center of a wider and higher container. When the rain stopped all buckets were brought indoors, and infective larvae spread by splash droplets during the rain were collected in the containers and counted. After 33 days, the remaining dung on the soil surface in buckets with dung beetles constituted only 38% of that in the controls. Moreover, the number of L3 in feces left on the soil surface in the buckets with beetles was reduced by 88%, presumably due to beetle activity. This may explain the 70-90% reduction in splash dispersal of L3 of Cooperia sp. from cow pats attacked by beetles. The dung-burying activity of the beetles did not result in increased numbers of L3 in the soil under the cow pats, suggesting that many of the parasites in buried feces were destroyed.

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