By degrading the dung of livestock that graze on pastures, coprophilous arthropods accelerate the cycling of nutrients to maintain pasture quality. Many veterinary medicinal products, such as ivermectin, are excreted unchanged in the dung of treated livestock. These residues can be insecticidal and may reduce the function (i.e., dung-degradation) of the coprophilous community. In the present study, we used a standard method to monitor the degradation of dung from cattle treated with ivermectin. The present study was performed during a 1-yr period on pastures in Canada, France, The Netherlands, and Switzerland. Large effects of residue were detected on the coprophilous community, but degradation of dung was not significantly hampered. The results emphasize that failure to detect an effect of veterinary medicinal product residues on dung-degradation does not mean that the residues do not affect the coprophilous community. Rather, insect activity is only one of many factors that affect degradation, and these other factors may mask the nontarget effect of residues.
- Veterinary products