Dung Collectors.. the Sewage Works of the Veld ..

The Dung Beetle. (the superfamily Scarabaeoidea.)

Dung beetles play a remarkable role in agriculture. By burying and consuming dung, they improve nutrient recycling and the soils.

Dung beetles can be broken down into four distinct groups, telecoprid, endocoprid, paracoprid and kleptocoprid. The endocoprids lay their eggs in a pile of dung, paracoprids dig down below a pile of dung, telecoprids roll the famous balls of dung and kleptocoprids steal the balls from the telecoprids.

The fun they have rolling a ball of sh…

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Dung beetles completely rely on dung for food for both themselves and their larvae and will lay their eggs in the balls. The telecoprids will roll the ball away until they find a suitable place to dig a hole and submerge it. They will then go back to the original pile to roll another and then roll it back to the same hole placing it on top of the first ball. They may place three balls on top of each other like a sleeve of tennis balls before closing the top of the hole and then leaving the larvae to hatch, feed and change into their adult form.

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And if a rock gets in the way..?? try to move it first and if unsuccessful move the ball….

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Dung beetles (coprophages, which means faeces eaters – although some do feed on mushrooms and rotting vegetation), are the clean-up crews of the bushveld, able to carry off and scatter a pile of dung in an amazingly short time. The dung is buried in the ground where it decomposes, aerating and fertilizing the soil. The removal of dung also minimizes the number of flies, so these beetles are extremely useful in maintaining a healthy environment.

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and does that not look appetising to a dung beetle larva.??


49 thoughts on “Dung Collectors.. the Sewage Works of the Veld ..

  1. Enjoyable post.
    We have them in the garden, here. I was thinking how strange it is that most people have little hesitation in picking them up in spite of their dietary preferances, whereas they would freak out at the touch of a cockroach.

  2. I’ve certainly heard of dung beetles, Rob, but never seen what they looked like, nor knew much about their habits. Fascinating! Nature takes care of everything…and you have a camera to prove it! πŸ™‚

  3. Amazing, a beetle trying to move a rock. So much we don’t know about insects and our environment in general…
    Thanks for the info and terrific photos.

  4. Now you must have been down to grassroots level. *smile … a strong looking fellow. Great shots and interesting bug … that top photo is priceless – looks like it’s just going to catch us. A brilliant shot.

    • They are fascinating to watch.. specially when there are a lot around one heap.. all trying there best with others waiting around to steal those already formed… the battles.. amazing…

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