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Wiped Out Like The Bison?

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The discovery that most dung beetles are European immigrants ignited a minor controversy among dung beetle observers, some of whom theorized that most of the dung beetles inhabiting North America s vast pre-settlement bison herds died out with them.

The opposing view, which Floate s work supports, says that most of the bison dung beetles simply switched from buffalo chips to cow-pies after cattle began arriving after 1640.

Using a kind of blind taste test methodology a Poopsi challenge, if you will he compared dung beetle colonization of dung piles from both species and using various feed types.

What he found was that a change in diet is more significant to dung beetles than the animal producing it. Mystery solved, he said.

More information on Prairie insects can be found at: http://www.biology.ualberta.ca/bsc/english/grasslandsbook.htm.

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