Effect of Larval Secretions and Excretion on Selection of Food Source by Dermestes maculatus DeGeer
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Necrophagous insects utilize cues such as volatiles and compounds in the environment, collectively known as public information, while locating ephemeral resources such as a decaying corpse. Volatiles, including those emitted from competing individuals, inform an organism’s decision to colonize or avoid certain food sources and are thus critical triggers for insect colonization and succession. This study seeks to determine if and to what extent larval secretions and excretion affect the resource selection process of Dermestes maculatus, a local necrophagous species. Adult beetles were allowed to make a choice between dog food treated with larval secretions and excretion collected from D. maculatus larvae, and untreated dog food. Preference for untreated food would indicate that compounds present in larval excretions and secretions may serve as compelling indices of the presence of a competing colony. Determining the impact of larval secretions and excretion on the decision-making process of D. maculatus will provide insight into the mechanisms behind necrophagous insect succession.
George, Ann Rachel (2017). Effect of Larval Secretions and Excretion on Selection of Food Source by Dermestes maculatus DeGeer. Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. Available electronically from