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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2009

Short-term assessment of dung beetle response to carbosulfan treatment against desert locust in Sudan

Eriksson, H.; Isaksson, D.


The beneficial role of dung beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) is well known. Potential risks to these beetles from the widespread use of insecticides against the desert locust, a significant plant pest in Africa, the Near East and South West Asia, have not been studied previously. Short-term responses of dung beetles to carbamate carbosulfan (Marshal (R), ultra low-volume formulation, 100 g active ingredient ha(-1)) were assessed during desert locust control operations at five sites within two major biotopes: Acacia tortilis shrubland and cultivated wetland; on the Red Sea Coast of Sudan. The study took place during January-February 2004. At each site, fresh dung from Zebu cows was placed in areas targeted for desert locust control. Dung pats were placed in plots in two areas and left for 24 h, before and after insecticide application. Beetles were extracted by floatation. There was a significant decrease in abundance between the pre- and post-spray period in treated areas for the Scarabaeinae species Onthophagus margaritifer (a dark colour morph). In contrast, it was found that Aphodius lucidus and beetles at the subfamily level of Aphodiinae increased in numbers after insecticide treatment. Mortality and sublethal impacts as well as a repellent effect of the insecticide may explain the decrease in Onthophagus margaritifer, while the increase in Aphodiinae beetles could be an indirect response to lower numbers of Scarabaeinae beetles in competing for the same resource. These organisms and the applied methodology may be useful for environmental monitoring of desert locust control, thus further studies are suggested. The assessment also revealed a marked difference between the two biotopes with high abundance and species richness of dung beetles in A. tortilis shrubland, while these measures were low in the cultivated wetland. Five new species of dung beetles for Sudan were found in this study.


Acacia tortilis; Aphodius lucidus; Onthophagus margaritifer; Schistocerca gregaria; carbosulfan; Histeridae; wetland

Published in

Journal of Applied Entomology
2009, Volume: 133, number: 8, pages: 584-595

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Agricultural Science

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