The thought of an insect eating any kind of dung, is probably very off-putting to most of you. But the integral part played by dung beetles in the disposal of animal dung, is vital in helping to erradicate transmittable diseases and reducing fly infestation. Dung beetles are seriously cool and interesting creatures!
Did you know:
- That they can move a ball of dung up to 10 times their own body weight and size?
- They feed almost exclusively on dung, but also some decayed plant material
- Help disperse seeds and improve nutrient quality of soils by burying dung balls and turning the soil
- Only push dung balls with their back legs
- The famous Egyptian scarab is in fact a species of dung beetle
- They mate underground and lay their eggs in the buried ball for hatching and for food storage
- They are capable of navigating by the stars
- Have an exceptionally well developed sense of smell
All in all, these harmless creatures are nothing but an asset to any environment. In the late 1960’s the Australian government imported dung beetles to their country from South Africa, to help tackle the enormous fly infestations and associated diseases they had as a result of their growing cattle numbers and unprocessed cow patties. The marsupial dung beetle was only capable of processing pellets like those of deer and sheep, and incapable of handling cattle or buffalo-like dung. This project has been a resounding success.