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dung beetle research fieldwork

dung beetle research fieldwork

Researcher Rachel Stone spent a year baiting dung beetles in traps with dead rats on the Kansas prairie to evaluate whether dung exposed by decomposition or the carrion itself attracted the beetles. Here, Stone digs a pitfall trap hole with a pickaxe. (“The Flint Hills, as the name suggests, are rocky and very difficult to dig!” Stone says.) Stone and colleagues found that more beetles congregated at the fore rather than the aft end of the carrion, which suggests they were drawn to the carcass itself, not dung in the gastrointestinal tract at its rear, as has been hypothesized in the past. (Photo by Mary Liz Jameson, Ph.D.)

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