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Too Fresh Is Unattractive! : The Attraction of Newly Emerged Nicrophorus vespilloides Females to Odour Bouquets of Large Cadavers at Various Stages of Decomposition

Title data

Hoermann, Christian von ; Steiger, Sandra ; Müller, Josef K. ; Ayasse, Manfred:
Too Fresh Is Unattractive! : The Attraction of Newly Emerged Nicrophorus vespilloides Females to Odour Bouquets of Large Cadavers at Various Stages of Decomposition.
In: PLoS One. Vol. 8 (2013) Issue 3 . - No. e58524.
ISSN 1932-6203
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0058524

Abstract in another language

The necrophagous burying beetle Nicrophorus vespilloides reproduces on small carcasses that are buried underground to serve as food for their offspring. Cadavers that are too large to bury have previously been postulated to be important food sources for newly emerged beetles; however, the attractiveness of distinct successive stages of decomposition were not further specified. Therefore, we investigated the potential preference of newly emerged N. vespilloides females for odour bouquets of piglet cadavers at specific stages of decomposition. Analyses of walking tracks on a Kramer sphere revealed a significantly higher mean walking speed and, consequently, a higher mean total track length when beetles were confronted with odour plumes of the decomposition stages ‘post-bloating’, ‘advanced decay’ or ‘dry remains’ in comparison with the solvent control. Such a change of the walking speed of newly emerged N. vespilloides females indicates a higher motivation to locate such food sources. In contrast to less discriminating individuals this behaviour provides the advantage of not wasting time at unsuitable food sources. Furthermore, in the advanced decay stage, we registered a significantly higher preference of beetles for upwind directions to its specific odour plume when compared with the solvent control. Such a change to upwind walking behaviour increases the likelihood that a large cadaver will be quickly located. Our findings are of general importance for applied forensic entomology: newly emerged N. vespilloides females on large cadavers can and should be regarded as potential indicators of prolonged post mortem intervals as our results clearly show that they prefer emitted odour bouquets of later decomposition stages.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a journal
Refereed: Yes
Additional notes: BAYCEER147475
Institutions of the University: Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences
Faculties > Faculty of Biology, Chemistry and Earth Sciences > Department of Biology > Chair Animal Ecology II - Evolutionary Animal Ecology > Chair Animal Ecology II - Evolutionary Animal Ecology - Univ.-Prof. Dr. Sandra Steiger
Research Institutions
Research Institutions > Research Centres
Research Institutions > Research Centres > Bayreuth Center of Ecology and Environmental Research- BayCEER
Result of work at the UBT: No
DDC Subjects: 500 Science
Date Deposited: 12 Apr 2019 12:07
Last Modified: 12 Apr 2019 12:07
URI: https://eref.uni-bayreuth.de/id/eprint/48363