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Title

Dung beetles eat acorns to increase their ovarian development and thermal tolerance

AuthorsVerdú, José R.; Casas, José L.; Lobo, Jorge M. ; Numa, Catherine
Issue Date9-Apr-2010
PublisherPublic Library of Science
CitationPLoS ONE 5(4): e10114 (2010)
AbstractAnimals eat different foods in proportions that yield a more favorable balance of nutrients. Despite known examples of these behaviors across different taxa, their ecological and physiological benefits remain unclear. We identified a surprising dietary shift that confers ecophysiological advantages in a dung beetle species. Thorectes lusitanicus, a Mediterranean ecosystem species adapted to eat semi-dry and dry dung (dung-fiber consumers) is also actively attracted to oak acorns, consuming and burying them. Acorn consumption appears to confer potential advantages over beetles that do not eat acorns: acorn-fed beetles showed important improvements in the fat body mass, hemolymph composition, and ovary development. During the reproductive period (October-December) beetles incorporating acorns into their diets should have greatly improved resistance to low-temperature conditions and improved ovarian development. In addition to enhancing the understanding of the relevance of dietary plasticity to the evolutionary biology of dung beetles, these results open the way to a more general understanding of the ecophysiological implications of differential dietary selection on the ecology and biogeography of these insects. © 2010 Verdú et al.
URIhttp://hdl.handle.net/10261/127694
DOI10.1371/journal.pone.0010114
Identifiersdoi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0010114
issn: 1932-6203
Appears in Collections:(MNCN) Artículos
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