A dung beetle from the Konashen COCA, Guyana.
© CI/Piotr Naskrecki
Dung beetles are very useful to study because their reliance on dung means that their abundance and diversity often reflects that of local vertebrates. They support a variety of symbiotic species such as mites, nematodes, and fungi and are an indirect measure of these taxa.
IN PHOTOS: See a photo gallery of Konashen’s invertebrates.
Dung beetles were collected by hand, with light, and through the use of baited pitfall traps. Each trap consisted of a 32 oz. cup sunk in to the ground up to its lip and partially filled with water. Over each cup was suspended a cheese-cloth wrapped mass of dung. A leaf was placed on top of the entire trap to repel rain. Other traps used different baits to attract species not associated with dung.
More analysis of the many beetles found is still required, and so species-level results are not yet available. Genera found include Deltochilum, Ateuchus, Dichotomius, Ontherus, Canthon, Eurysternus, Oxysternon, Phanaeus, and Cryptocanthon. At least 50 species of beetles were found, and at least one species of passalid beetle is likely new to science.
What it Means
The dung beetles that have been identified so far indicate that the forested sites are unaffected by human activity. Although some dung beetle species prefer disturbed and agricultural habitats, the existing species from this region would be unlikely to survive such a change.
Hunting has the potential to negatively affect dung beetles through its direct impact on birds and mammals, however at this time the hunting performed by the native Wai-Wai is not a major threat.
| Ant Team | Dung Beetle Team | Katydid Team | Fish Team |
| Reptile and Amphibian Team | Bird Team | Mammal Team |