The rearing race is on

The experienced CSIRO team has poured significant time and effort into introducing the Moroccan strain of Onthophagus vacca into the country through Australia's strict quarantine regulations. The first season of mass rearing is underway. The delivery of O. vacca to Charles Sturt in May 2019 contained 350 beetles, while CSIRO kept 150 beetles in their laboratory. This gave rise to a friendly race - who can produce the most broods?

CSIRO is currently in the lead with an average of one brood ball a day for each female. Charles Sturt is catching up with a 0.7 brood balls/female/day. The combined production is now over 4000 broods in one month and the beetles will keep producing broods for several weeks. While a lot of things can happen during larval development, this is very encouraging. Both Charles Sturt and CSIRO are hoping for good adult emergence.

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Liam O'Neill