Dung Beetles


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.

Dung Beetles

 

a group of beetles of the family Scarabaeidae; the group includes the subfamilies Aphodiinae, Geotrupinae, and Scarabaeinae. Dung beetles measure from 3 to 70 mm long and usually are brown or black; sometimes they have a metallic sheen. Both the beetles and larvae feed primarily on dung; a few species feed on carrion, and still others are vegetarians. The females lay their eggs in the excreta of various animals, primarily mammals. Certain dung beetles, such as the Aphodiinae, use clumps of dung on the surface of the ground for egg laying; others roll the dung into egg, pear, or sausage shapes and then bury it in the earth. The parents of several species guard their young until development into beetles. The males often play an equal role in caring for the young.

There are more than 6, 000 species of dung beetles. They are particularly common in tropical countries. In the USSR there are approximately 450 species of dung beetles of the genera Scarabaeus, Copris, and Onthophagus.

Dung beetles play an important ecological role by removing and burying excreta. However, some dung beetles are temporary hosts of parasitic worms.

O. L. KRYZHANOVSKII

References in periodicals archive ?
A Novel method for measuring dung removal by tunneler dung beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Scarabaeinae) in pastures.
Now if we could only do the same, in the spirit of fair play, for the dung beetle. Except that, when I looked on the internet I found there already is a campaign to save it.
Similar observations have been made for other dung beetles. Cave (2005) found 16 species feeding on dog-dung in Austin, Texas (USA).
The dung beetles have been released in the fields to break down dung pats and to move nutrients and organic matter into the soil.
Over the two-part series we can expect to see Judi climbing trees, interacting with animals such as sun bears, elephants and crocodiles, as well as growing attached to a dung beetle she calls Bob and meeting a snake she names James Bond.
For experiment 3, a two-way ANOVA was applied to analyze the principal effects of feces with two levels (from IVM-treated animals and from non-treated animals); and ranch with two levels ([R.sub.1] and [R.sub.2]) on the number of dung beetles attracted to feces.
"It's not just about bees or even about pollination and feeding ourselves; the declines also include dung beetles that recycle waste and insects like dragonflies that start life in rivers and ponds.
We've found 23 species of dung beetle in a single cowpat, one of which -- the violet dor beetle -- hasn't been seen in Sussex for 50 years.
After you understand the life cycle of dung beetles in your area, you'll be able to calculate when to send your chickens out to pasture.
Given the importance of dung beetles for ecosystems, further work should be done to understand what about the primate dung attracts the beetles, and how this affects the dispersal of seeds consumed by the macaques.