Science

Dung beetles’ feeding habits can be used to track endangered lemurs

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A dung beetle moving a pellet of sifaka lemur dung in Madagascar

Premaphotos/Alamy

Analysing DNA inside the guts of dung beetles could provide a useful way to monitor endangered lemur populations in Madagascar.

Sergei Tarasov at the Finnish Museum of Natural History in Helsinki and his colleagues captured dozens of beetles from three forests in central and northern Madagascar to determine what dung they were feeding on.

They collected four different species of dung beetle in small, baited pitfall traps, then euthanised and dissected them.

Using sequencing technology, the team members fished …

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