Metagenomics reveals that dung beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeinae) broadly feed on reptile dung. Did they also feed on that of dinosaurs?

Fernando Lopes, Michele Rossini, Federica Losacco, Giulio Montanaro, Nicole Gunter, Sergei Tarasov

Tutkimustuotos: ArtikkelijulkaisuArtikkeliTieteellinenvertaisarvioitu


The origin of the dung-feeding habits in dung beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeinae) is debatable. According to traditional views, the evolution of dung beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeinae) and their feeding habits are largely attributed to mammal dung. In this paper, we challenge this view and provide evidence that many dung beetle communities are actually attracted to the dung of reptiles and birds (= Sauropsida). In turn, this indicates that sauropsid dung may have played a crucial evolutionary role that was previously underestimated. We argue that it is physiologically realistic to consider that coprophagy in dung beetles could have evolved during the Cretaceous in response to the dung produced by dinosaurs. Furthermore, we demonstrate that sauropsid dung may be one of the major factors driving the emergence of insular dung beetle communities across the globe. We support our findings with amplicon-metagenomic analyses, field observations, and meta-analysis of the published literature.
LehtiFrontiers in Ecology and Evolution
DOI - pysyväislinkit
TilaJulkaistu - 10 maalisk. 2023
OKM-julkaisutyyppiA1 Alkuperäisartikkeli tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä, vertaisarvioitu


  • 1181 Ekologia, evoluutiobiologia

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