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Dung beetles: key to healthy pasture? An overview

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Dung beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) do just what their name suggests: they use the manure, or dung of other animals in some unique ways! Diversity of the coprine members is reflected through the differences in morphology, resource relocation and foraging activity. They use one of the three broad nesting strategies for laying eggs (Dwellers, Rollers, Tunnelers and Kleptocoprids) each with implications for ecological function. These interesting insects fly around in search of manure deposits, or pats from herbivores like cows and elephants. Through manipulating faeces during the feeding process, dung beetles initiate a series of ecosystem functions ranging from secondary seed dispersal to nutrient cycling and parasite suppression. The detritus-feeding beetles play a small but remarkable role in our ecosystem. They feed on manure, use it to provide housing and food for their young, and improve nutrient cycling and soil structure. Many of the functions provide valuable ecosystem services such as biological pest control, soil fertilization. Members of the genus Onthophagus have been widely proposed as an ideal group for biodiversity inventory and monitoring; they satisfy all of the criteria of an ideal focal taxon, and they have already been used in ecological research and biodiversity survey and conservation work in many regions of the world. The existence of distinct communities of coprophagous beetles, which differ in their species composition, species-abundance relations and efficiency of dung removal, plays a major role in the breakthrough in pasture and livestock management. They as well play roles in pollination and trophic management. The dung beetles release strategy group concluded that they also result in the reduction of greenhouse gas emitted from agricultural sector like many others; these insects too have medicinal value. Even after the presence of high endemicity, they are still somewhat at back place in an adjunct of apt knowledge on them with very few studies done on them, the need of the hour being to utilise this potential as bioresource in the interest of society and socio-economic value. Present paper is an attempt to provide an overview on the knowledge generated and what we could do so far on the dung beetle diversity in the Dairy Farm of Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama Campus, Narendrapur, South 24 Parganas & buffaloshed Naihati, North 24- Parganas, West Bengal.
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  • Post Graduate Department of Zoology, Barasat Government College, 10, K.N.C. Road, Barasat, Kolkata – 7000124, India
  • Post Graduate Department of Zoology, Barasat Government College, 10, K.N.C. Road, Barasat, Kolkata – 7000124, India
  • Post Graduate Department of Zoology, Barasat Government College, 10, K.N.C. Road, Barasat, Kolkata – 7000124, India
  • IRDM Faculty Centre, Department of Agricultural Biotechnology, Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda University, Narendrapur, Kolkata – 700103, India
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