Journal of the Department of Agriculture, Western Australia, Series 4


Musca vetustissima, Insect control, Biological control agents, Dung beetles

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Native dung beetles are found in south-western Australia, but they are largely restricted to areas of natural vegetation where they feed on dung pellets of marsupials.

When European man cleared the land, planted pastures and introduced cattle, he created a new type of environment which did not suit most native beetles. Cattle dung accumulated, and the bush fly Musca vetustissima, found this a very favourable breeding site.

In an attempt to correct this inbalance, other types of dung beetles addapted to living in open pastures are being introduced by CSIRO. These introduced beetles can reduce fly numbers by increasing the rate of break-down of cattle dung, and therefore reducing the number of sites available for bush fly breeding.

Seven introduced beetle species are now established in south-western Australia, but further species are required for significant bush fly control.

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