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The first observational study of a dung beetle species on Langkawi Island in the Andaman Sea reveals insights about its tastes and what that means for the ecosystem.
A dung beetle inhabiting the Malaysian island of Langkawi prefers the faeces of an omnivorous long-tailed macaque, and is active only in forest areas, even though they can find the primate dung in other areas, according to research recently published in the journal Tropical Agricultural Science. The study's observational method could also be applied to other species to reveal insights into how they are responding to changing environments.
Dung - Beetles - Roles - Ecosystem - Soil
Dung beetles perform many crucial roles in the ecosystem, from soil enrichment and nutrient cycling to seed dispersal and fly control. They are classified as rollers, tunnelers or dwellers, depending on what they do with the dung. The survival of these creatures is highly dependent on other animals, and affected by the environment. Recent work has shown that their numbers are decreasing in areas of Borneo, another island in Malaysia, where logging has taken place.
Salmah Yaakop and colleagues from the Centre for Insect Systematics at the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), and Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM), observed macaque troops in a tropical mixed rainforest on Langkawi, an island off Malaysia's west coast that is an UNESCO Geopark site and popular tourist destination. When the team spotted...
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