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Germination of blue grama seeds buried by dung beetles (Coleoptera:Scarabaeidae)
- Wicklow, D.T., Kumar, R., Lloyd, J.E.
- Environmental entomology 1984 v.13 no.3 pp. 878
- Bouteloua gracilis, buried seeds, seed germination, mortality, seedling emergence, dung beetles, Canthon, reproductive behavior, feces, larval development, eclosion
- Natural establishment of blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis) seedlings is not reported to occur on shortgrass prairie. Lack of adequate moisture at the soil surface prevents germination, and, once germination has occurred, rapid drying of surface soils frequently results in the death of elongating seminal roots. Establishment of blue grama seedlings may be facilitated by dung-burying beetles. Greenhouse experiments in Wyoming with Canthon pilularius (L.) showed that blue grama seeds mixed into fresh cattle faeces survived formation and burial of brood balls, larval development within the brood ball and subsequent emergence of adult beetles. Blue grama seedlings were recorded at several sites where C. pilularius had buried dung in cages filled with sterilized (autoclaved) potting soil.