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A limiting factor in the abundance of predatory phoretic mites (Acari: Macrochelidae): the seasonal abundance of their phorionts (dung beetles) in southern France

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The effects of host (dung beetles; Coleoptera: Scarabaeoidea) activity on seasonal abundance of phoretic mites (predatory macrochelids) were investigated in experimental dung pads under Mediterranean climatic conditions. Macrocheles robustulus and Macrocheles merdarius were collected only in spring and autumn. The most abundant macrochelids (Macrocheles glaber group; >90%) were rare in the hottest days and during winter. Mite abundance and dung beetle activity were correlated. The distribution (aggregate or not) of macrochelids in both pads and beetle traps was interpreted as a consequence of the availability of carriers that were found greatly affected by unfavourable meteorological conditions (temperature and rainfall). By their abundance and because they are opportunistic in the choice of host, the M. glaber group species can be considered the most efficient in coprophilous fly control.

L'utilisation de bouses expérimentales nous a permis d'analyser le rôle de l'activité des bousiers coprophages (hôtes) sur l'abondance saisonnière des acariens phorétiques (macrochélides prédateurs) en climat méditerranéen. Macrocheles robustulus et Macrocheles merdarius sont présents seulement au printemps et en automne. Les espèces les plus abondantes appartiennent au groupe M. glaber (>90 %) et elles sont rares pendant les périodes les plus chaudes et pendant l'hiver. Il y a une corrélation entre l'abondance des acariens et l'activité des bousiers. La distribution agrégative ou non des acariens du groupe M. glaber dans les bouses et les pièges à coléoptères peut s'expliquer par la disponibilité des insectes transporteurs dont l'activité est sous la dépendance des conditions météorologiques défavorables (températures et précipitations). Grâce à leur densité et leur comportement opportuniste dans le choix de l'hôte, les espèces du groupe M. glaber peuvent être considérées comme les plus efficaces dans le contrôle des mouches coprophiles.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2003-12-01

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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