Flora and fauna
in forest park Háj-Nicovô

Dung beetle

Anoplotrupes stercorosus

Dung beetle

The dung beetle belongs to the family of Scarabaeidae, its characteristics are a size of 20-30 mm, a round hard, and dark body, sometimes with a blue glint. Dung serves as its food and also as an incubator for its offspring. Dung beetles can sense fresh droppings very quickly, so it’s only a matter of time before others gather round. On their legs, males have so-called teeth, which they use to transport droppings. They differ from the famous scarab in scooping dung up with their front legs instead of rolling it into a ball with hind legs. Females are missing these so-called teeth.

A pair of dungs prepare for parenthood in mid-autumn. Under the fresh poop, they make a 30 – 50-centimeter corridor and line its bottom with dung. Inside, they dig something like a chamber, a hole the size of a hazelnut, where the female lays one egg. Then, together they fill almost the entire corridor with another batch of feces. If you are ever out in nature and find droppings or a cow pat, take a close look. If you notice a sort of mosaic around it – many little holes in the soil.

That’s a print of the dungs building a network of corridors near their food source. They gradually pull pieces of feces into these chambers until they slowly disappear from the surface. The beetles feast only in the holes, so that no one can see them during this unappealing activity. If the weather is good, they repeatedly climb out of their hiding place to deposit more fresh supplies.

Do you know?
Droppings or cow pats are a source of various infections. It is known that feces contain a lot of bacteria that can multiply uncontrollably in the air. The dung does not allow them to do so. It processes them and, at the same time, fertilizes the soil.

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