Insects of the British Cow-dung Community

This book is intended to provide students possessing little or no entomological training with the basic taxonomic ability to begin studies into the cow-dung community. The keys for identification are in two parts and are followed by two further sections dealing with other important aspects of the Subject. Part One keys insects down to family level and should be adequate to give a general picture of the resident insect fauna. Part Two takes the student to species level where appropriate. Detailed studies often show that closely related species have different habits, but valuable pioneer work remains to be done at species level with most of the insects concerned. Part Three describes those families of Diptera (two-winged flies) which are most likely to be encountered as ‘casual’ visitors to cow-dung. Part Four provides further information on the ecological inter-relationships between the groups and also gives lists of those British species known to the author to have been recorded from the dung of mammalian herbivores. Further work will greatly extend this list but it should serve to illustrate one of Reaurnur's important discoveries that different dung types support different insect communities. The list will also serve to illustrate how little is really known and will hopefully stimulate further research. In addition to the list, a simplified food web is included in which trophic categories are given rather than species. These types are coded to correlate with the species list so that the reader can quickly assess the general trophic type to which each species belongs. The latter section of Part Four gives a short list of important titles on coprophilous (dung-loving) insects and several of these works provide further valuable lists of references. The more useful taxonomic works are also listed. Finally, a comprehensive glossary and full index are provided.
Peter Skidmore
Available as: 
FSC Field Studies 1991 AIDGAP Out of print