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Ciidae and ecology

Ciidae are possibly the most speciose, frequent and abundant beetles associated with persistent basidiomes that grow in dead or live tree-trunks, and so they are directly involved in the decaying process of these fungal structures. In doing so, the ciids render important environmental services in nutrient cycling of elements such as cadmium, chromium, molybdenum, manganese and selenium, which are usually concentrated ten times more in basidiomes than in the substrate they use. Basidiomes are rich in proteins and carbohydrates and have great amounts of biologically important elements such as phosphorus and nitrogen, which may accelerate the development of larvae of beetles feeding on them (Martin 1979). However, basidiomes also have high concentrations of toxins, such as phenols, pyrones and heterocyclic nitrogen complexes. As the ciids are successful in consuming basidiomes they certainly have physiological mechanisms to avoid the toxic effects of these substances.



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