African Dung Beetle

Next time you complain about your job…. look at what this little guy has to do every day….

Jet Eliot

African Dung Beetle on Dung Ball, Serengeti African Dung Beetle on Dung Ball, Serengeti

A member of the Scarab family, this remarkable beetle cleans up the dung on all of earth’s continents except Antarctica.  There are thousands of different species of dung beetles; here we’ll focus on the African.

In the plains of the Serengeti where millions of mammals live, there is a large amount of dung.  If the dung didn’t get cleaned up, it would prohibit the grasses from growing, which would curtail the mammals’ feeding.  This beetle cleans up the dung, utilizes it thoroughly, and keeps the grass growing, the mammals grazing.  In addition, the removal of the dung keeps flies from over-breeding, and replenishes the earth with dung fertilizer.

Dung Beetle, Serengeti Dung Beetle, Serengeti

Neateuchus proboscideus are about an inch long.  They quickly roll the dry dung ball away (speed is important, the competition is fierce) and bury it.  Once their sweet stash is secure, the…

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