Helsingin yliopisto, Helsinki 2006
Aistit ja käyttäytyminen - Miten lantakuoriaiset löytävät lantaa?
Pro gradu, syyskuu 2006.
The purpose of my thesis was to find out how Finnish dung beetles find their most important resource, dung. I tried to establish the most important sense for finding dung, to which part or parts of the scent dung beetles react to and how sensitive their ability to detect dung is.
Dung beetles are an important part of the ecosystem and a long used model for population study. They are an interesting target for sensory research because their resource is both patchy and short-lived. Because of these aspects dung beetles have to locate dung very quickly and efficiently. I used dung beetles belonging to family Aphodiidae (Scarabaeoidea Laparosticti) that I collected from cow pastures in Viikki using pitfall traps.
To track down how dung beetles approach dung I observed their approaching behaviour in the wild. To figure out the importance of sight and smell I eliminated one sense at a time and observed how it affected beetles' behaviour. I eliminated olfaction by cutting off antennas and sight by painting the beetles' eyes. To find out chemical attractants in question I first analyzed smelly, volatile organic compounds in cow dung and then offered them as bait alone and in different combinations in pitfall traps in the wild. I also tried to establish the sensitivity of olfaction by offering different amounts of cow dung in a long windless corridor to dung beetles.
I noticed that dung beetles approach dung by flying low in headwind. Part of the beetles approached flying in a narrowing zigzag-pattern while others landed occasionally to orientate and approached in small spurts. Eliminating olfaction effectively prevented dung beetles from finding dung whilst blinded individuals performed as well as control beetles. From all the chemical components I used, only butane acid attracted some dung beetles. A combination of chemicals is what presumably attracts dung beetles best.
Julkaisu on tekijänoikeussäännösten alainen. Teosta voi lukea ja tulostaa henkilökohtaista käyttöä varten. Käyttö kaupallisiin tarkoituksiin on kielletty.
© Helsingin yliopisto 2006
Viimeksi päivitetty 19.12.2006