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Ginger is key ingredient in recipe for conserving stag beetles
Date:1/9/2011

work with adult stag beetles because they are not reliably attracted to light and the species does not eat during the adult phase of its life cycle.

As well as finding a method of monitoring adult numbers, Harvey also needed a way to detect larvae, which live underground. Hand searching is likely to destroy their habitats, so instead the team used tiny microphones to pick up the sounds known as stridulation the larvae make, together with so-called diffusive samplers to detect a chemical (longifolene) they emit.

Harvey says: "Sampling subterranean insects without destroying the larval habitat is notoriously difficult. These diffusive samplers are widely used to monitor environmental pollution, but this is the first time they have been used for insect detection. Because longifolene can be produced by plants, we used it together with sound recording to come up with a more accurate method of finding stag beetle larvae."

The team found that stridulation patterns produced by stag beetle larvae are very different from other species likely to live nearby, such as the rose chafer (Cetonia aurata) and the lesser stag beetle (Dorcus parallelipipedus). "Stridulation is likely to be a form of communication between larvae; it increases if larvae are handled or placed in solitary confinement," Harvey says.

These are the first ever sound recordings of lesser stag beetle and rose chafer larvae. The latter sound like squeaky shoes.

The new methods could help conserve other rare species. According to Harvey: "Acoustic detection of insects as a sampling method is very underused, but we believe it could have great potential in detecting larvae in the field."


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Contact: Dr. Deborah Harvey
deborahjharvey@btopenworld.com
44--137-280-1128
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert  

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