Dung beetle - habitat and lifestyle

Dung beetle - habitat and lifestyle
Dung beetle - habitat and lifestyle

The huge diversity of the world of insects attracts naturalists and just lovers of wildlife. The dung beetle (scarab) is an interesting creature, one of the most ancient insects inhabiting our planet. They have chosen a rather unusual segment of the food chain.


Dung beetle: photo, habitat, features

A lot of herbivores live on the African continent. Many of them are quite large. For example, an elephant can eat up to a quarter of a ton of plant food per day. Most of this impressive mass naturally turns into waste. Huge heaps of manure become a haven for a variety of insects, for which they are not only a habitat, but also a source of food. One such insect is the dung beetle.

There are about six hundred species in total. Many live on the African continent. All of them are adapted to the disposal of manure heaps. This is done according to the established scheme.

dung beetle photo

Dung beetle rolls animal droppings into a small spherical ball,picking it up with the front paws. This is done fairly quickly. Because if the beetle hesitates and fiddles with one ball for a long time, then the manure will dry out (which is undesirable). A fresh heap of elephant droppings can be consumed by swarms of these insects in a very short time. This high efficiency is very useful in cattle farms. For example, dung beetles were brought to Australia specifically to cope with the waste produced in increasing quantities by local livestock.

The purpose of the balls and the breeding of beetles

A dung beetle quickly forms a ball of fresh droppings and then rolls it to a secluded spot.

dung beetle larva

His first task is to find a shaded piece of land. Sometimes it is not easy at all and the insect has to overcome more than a dozen meters. In a suitable place, the ball is buried in the ground. It will serve two purposes - food and reproduction. While the individual beetle is still young, it rolls dung balls in order to feed on them. And after reaching puberty, eggs will be laid in them. Of these, an adult dung beetle will subsequently develop. The larva, which first hatches from the egg, will feed on the contents of the ball as it grows. The female scarab, who stays in the nest most of her time, has to add extra fresh droppings to the ball.

Beetle and symbols

The black beetle with metallic-colored wings was one of the most common and revered symbols of Ancient Egypt. The inhabitants of thiscountries very carefully observed nature and the creatures inhabiting it. They noticed that dung beetles roll their balls from east to west, as if following the path of the Sun in the sky. Therefore, the scarab began to be considered a sacred insect, symbolizing the power of rebirth to life and creation. In the form of a beetle, various seals, jewelry, and amulets were made. Various sculptures and details of tomb paintings in the form of scarabs have been preserved.

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