10 Incredible Dung Beetle Facts

The expression dung beetle refers to quite a few species in the superfamily Scarabaeoidea. Most dung beetles belong to the subfamilies Aphodiinae and Scarabaeinae, the latter of which are typically identified as legitimate dung beetles. You can obtain them in the course of the environment, besides Antarctica, in habitats ranging from deserts to farmlands to forests. Dung beetles attribute prominently in historic mythology and also provide an crucial ecological functionality. Let’s take a look at 10 remarkable dung beetle details and talk about what makes dung beetles so fascinating. 

10. Dung Beetles Eat Poop

What Do Dung Beetles Eat - Dung Beetle Larva
Dung beetles try to eat the feces of diverse animals.

Sakdinon Kadchiangsaen/W3schools

When most people think about dung beetles, they routinely think about the dung beetle’s diet. While dung beetles appear in a wide range of designs, dimensions, colours and behaviors, the just one detail they all have in popular is their connection to feces. As their title indicates, dung beetles consume the poop of diverse animals.

Dung beetles generally take in the feces of herbivores and omnivores but want the feces of omnivores. That stated, they will also consume other foodstuff, such as mushrooms and decaying plant make any difference. Dung beetles technically do not will need to try to eat or drink any other foodstuff, as the dung satisfies all their nutritional desires.

9. There Are 3 Distinctive Forms of Dung Beetles

Dung Beetle pushing its ball of dung in the sand.
Beetle pushing its ball of dung in the sand.


Frequently talking, dung beetles drop into 1 of a few distinctive wide types – rollers, tunnelers and dwellers. Rollers roll dung into spherical balls, which they then push to their dens, which is how they get their name. Tunnelers dig tunnels beneath or subsequent to where they find dung, therefore supplying them simple obtain to their meals resource. In the meantime, dwellers burrow immediately into dung that they find and stay inside the feces. 

Some researchers contend that there exists a fourth class of dung beetle – stealers. These dung beetles steal poop from other dung beetles. That said, these dung beetles normally roll their stolen poop again to their dens, so they could fall into the roller class. 

8. Dung Beetles Are Super Solid

Dung Beetle (Scarabaeidae) - rolling dung with back legs
One particular dung beetle species can go objects nearly 1,141 periods its possess body weight.

Stacey Ann Alberts/W3schools

There are several insect species that are reputed to have huge power. For example, leafcutter ants can have nearly 50 situations their personal body weight. In the meantime, the ordinary dung beetle can very easily roll 10 moments its human body fat. Having said that, 1 certain dung beetle puts all other bugs to shame with its feats of strength. 

Male Onthophagus taurus dung beetles can shift objects up to 1,141 times their possess system weight. This is approximately the equal of a particular person carrying around 80 tons or six double-decker buses. Offered its remarkable ability, the humble dung beetle holds the difference of becoming the strongest pound-for-pound animal on earth. 

7. Historical Egyptians Revered Dung Beetles

Types of beetles - dung beetle
Egyptians revered scarabs as sacred.

Mike Laptev/W3schools

Even though many folks today consider dung beetles gross or distasteful, some historical cultures considered dung beetles in a unique mild. Historical Egyptians revered quite a few species of dung beetles or scarabs. Most notably, the species Scarabaeus sacer, or the sacred scarab, was supplied sacred position by Egyptians, consequently its title. 

Egyptians linked dung beetles with the god Khepri, the god of the climbing sunshine. Egyptians when compared dung beetles rolling dung to the motion of the sunlight throughout the sky. They also thought that only male dung beetles existed and that they reproduced by depositing their sperm into dung balls. Similarly, Khepri designed himself out of absolutely nothing, further more associating dung beetles with the iconic Egyptian god. 

6. Some Dung Beetles Use Stars to Navigate

Some species orient themselves applying the stars or the moon’s polarization sample.

Charlesjsharp / Imaginative Commons

Human beings have made use of the stars to navigate for countless numbers of many years, but we’re not the only animals that rely on celestial objects for navigation. Seals, moths and indigo buntings all use stars for orientation in some way. A single of the extra shocking dung beetle facts is that they also use the night time sky to navigate. Dung beetles have superposition compound eyes and outstanding night vision. They use their eyes to wonderful advantage when surveying the night sky.

The African Scarabaeus zambesianus navigates by moonlight, specially by examining the moon’s polarization pattern. No other animal recognized to science navigates this way. Likewise, many dung beetle species can navigate in accordance to clusters of stars in the Milky Way, a trait distinctive among the bugs. 

5. Dung Beetles Are Great Dad and mom

Dung beetle larva, Western High Plateau, Cameroon.
Dung beetles just take terrific care of their kids.

Jan Mastnik/W3faculties

By and huge, insects aren’t identified for their parenting abilities. Most insect parents put minimal to no work into boosting their offspring after they are born. Furthermore, a lot of are downright horrible mother and father and either abandon or actively try out to consume their young children. However, dung beetles serve as the exception to this normally tough-speedy rule. 

Several dung beetle species set a remarkable sum of energy into caring for their youthful. Male dung beetles research considerably and large for poop that they will roll back again to the den for their offspring to try to eat. Meanwhile, feminine dung beetles equally locate meals and put together the nest for the young. Some dung beetle species in the Onthophagus genus even mate for everyday living, while in many others, both males and ladies function alongside one another to construct a nest.

4. Dung Beetles Date Again to the Cretaceous Period of time

Earth-boring Dung beetle isolated on white background.
Dung beetles may perhaps have existed as significantly back as 145 million a long time ago!

Vitalii Hulai/W3faculties

Typically, researchers obtain it hard to day the origins of bugs due to the fact they lack bones and never ordinarily leave behind a fossil file. Fortunately, the having patterns of dung beetles make them ripe for paleontological research. Specifically, dung beetles once in a while died inside the dung of dinosaurs or other historic animals. This feces would at times get fossilized, thus preserving the continues to be of the dung beetle inside of.

Because of to these ancient feces fossils, experts now estimate that dung beetles lived facet-by-facet with dinosaurs. Fossil evidence indicates historical dung beetles existed throughout the Reduced Cretaceous period. This implies that dung beetles may possibly have existed as much again as 145 million years in the past.  

3. Dung Beetles Assistance the Ecosystem

Dung Beetle close-up
Dung beetles help the natural environment by eating and burying feces.

Over and above the obvious reward that dung beetles supply by feeding on other animals’ waste, dung beetles assist the surroundings in a amount of shocking techniques. Tunneling dung beetles bury the poop that they find. This method of aerating, burying and mixing the feces with the soil functions as a kind of pure fertilization. In convert, this can help to lessen greenhouse gasoline emissions, particularly methane, as is prevalent in the squander of cows. Some experiments also propose that dung beetles help to lower the populations of disorder-carrying flies, as the flies have less food items sources to are living on.

2. Dung Beetles Will Journey Extensive Distances For Poop

Dung Beetle Close Up
Shut up of the dung beetle.


In spite of their standing, in actuality, dung beetles can be particularly picky eaters. They like to eat new feces and commonly disregard dried-out feces in favor of a lot more palatable poop. As a result, they sometimes have to travel lengthy distances to come across a suited food. 

Dung beetles have an excellent perception of odor. Even though some species acquire shortcuts and simply hold out for nearby animals to supply them with a food, others make lengthy treks to discover just the ideal poop. This usually means that some dung beetles might have to fly for miles before they come across a ideal pile of feces. They may perhaps then have to roll the food all the way back to their den, a journey that can possibly consider hrs or even days.

1. Some Dung Beetles Are Endangered

Dung beetles with a dung ball.
Some dung beetles are endangered due to habitat reduction and human interference.

Neil Bromhall/W3educational institutions

Our final entry in our listing of dung beetle information is also one particular of the saddest. Like most animals, dung beetles confront unique threats that threaten their existence. Some species experience operate-of-the-mill threats this kind of as deforestation or habitat decline brought on by farming or tourism. Many others deal with more special threats. For case in point, one species in Japan, Cheirotonus jambar, is threatened because it is frequently gathered for use in specialised presents or trinkets. As a final result, the IUCN has listed it as an Endangered species. 

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