Dung Beetle

Dung Beetle, Vancouver Island, BC
Dung Beetle, Vancouver Island, BC, Photo By Bud Logan

Dung Beetle is a group of beetles in the family Scarabaeidae, insect order Coleoptera. They are important insects that help dramatically with the decomposition of animal manure. There are several species; some live in woodlands and others dwell in pastures, some live in dog manure. They are a great help in aerating the soil and adding nutrients to the ground.

Adult Dung Beetles range in size from 2 to over 50 mm in length. Most of these beetles are dark brown or black, but a few have bright patterns or metallic colors.

Dung Beetles feed on dung, feces, scat. Some dung beetles are called tunnelers, that bury their dung balls, some can bury dung balls 250 times bigger than themselves in a single night. Some others are called rollers as they will roll dung into balls to use as food or a breeding chamber. Another group of dung beetles are called dwellers as they do not roll up dung or bury it, they simply live in dung.

These are amazing little creatures to watch, but you should be out at night to see them at work. They come in a variety of sizes and colors, the one in the photo was from Vancouver Island.

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