Records of hypogeous mycorrhizal fungi in the diet of some Western Australian bolboceratine beetles (Coleoptera: Geotrupidae, Bolboceratinae)


  • Terry F Houston,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Terrestrial Zoology (Entomology), Western Australian Museum, Locked Bag 49, Welshpool Delivery Centre, WA 6986, Australia.
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  • Neale L Bougher

    1. Western Australian Herbarium, Department of Environment and Conservation, Locked Bag 104, Bentley Delivery Centre, WA 6983, Australia.
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In order to assess the possible contribution of bolboceratine beetles to the dispersal of mycorrhizal fungal spores, faeces and/or gut contents of adults of several species and genera obtained from burrows or collected at lights at night were examined microscopically. Two species of Blackbolbus (frontalis and fucinus) were found to have fed on different species of hypogeous sporocarps (truffles). Furthermore, adults of Bbo. frontalis were found in burrows with truffles of the genera Amarrendia, Hysterangium and Scleroderma. Specimens of some Blackburnium, Bolboleaus and Bolborhachium species, on the other hand, were found to have ingested diffuse glomeralean mycelium and spores along with varying quantities of soil. Limited evidence of broad-scale distribution of spores was obtained. Some Scleroderma truffles found in burrows of Bbo. frontalis were honeycombed and inhabited by numerous nitidulid beetles identified as Thalycrodes mixta. Two truffles identified as Hysterangium found in soil close to a burrow of Bbo. frontalis were infested with nematodes.