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Insects and related species: Antlions - Ants - Bees - Beetles - Bugs - Butterflies, Moths and Caterpillars - Centipedes and Millipedes - Cockroaches - Crickets - Dragonflies and Damselflies - Grasshoppers and Katydids - Mantis - Stick Insects - Ticks and Mites - Wasps - Woodlice
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Animals, Birds, Reptiles etc.: Animals, Birds, Fish and Crabs - Frogs - Lizards - Scorpions - Snails and Slugs - Snakes - Spiders - Tortoise, Turtles and Terrapins - Whipscorpions
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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dung Beetles

We have many different kinds of Dung Beetles here and all belong to the Scarabaeidae (Scarab) family. They vary in length and color and be anything from 3 to 50mm in length.
Life Span: Up to 3 years.

Description: Some dung beetles are metallic blue and green and also copper in color white others are dull to shiny black in color.
This is a Spider Dung Beetle above....
Habitat: Dung beetles have many different habitats including farmland, grasslands, deserts, and forests.
Countries found in: More than 5000 species of dung beetle can be found in every continent with the exception of Antartica.
Babies: Eggs are deposited in balls of dung. Some species of dung beetles watch over the ball of dung while waiting for the young beetles to emerge. The dung beetle larvae live and feed off the dung ball.
Food: Dung, mushrooms, decaying matter such as leaves and fruit. Dung beetles do not "eat" the dung, but use their mouths to suck the juice from the undigested plant material in the manure.
Interesting Facts:
Dung beetles create dung balls and roll them with their hind legs.
The dung is eaten and also used to deposit eggs.
Dung beetles don't need to eat or drink anything else as they get all the nutrition they need directly from the dung they collect.
Most dung beetles search for dung using their sensitive sense of smell. Some of the smaller species simply attach themselves to the dung-providers to wait for their reward. After capturing the dung, a dung beetle will roll it, following a straight line despite all obstacles. Sometimes dung beetles will try to steal the dung ball of another beetle, so the dung beetles have to move rapidly away from a dung pile once they have rolled their ball to prevent it from being stolen. Dung beetles can roll up to 50 times their weight. Male Onthophagus taurus can pull 1,141 times their own body weight: the equivalent of an average person pulling six double-decker buses full of people.

40 comments:

Ida from South Africa said...

Ek was lanklaas op blogs, en dis so lekker om joune oop te maak en al die interessanthede te lees!! Jou foto's is, weereens, lieflik. Ek het nog nooit daardie kleurvolle miskruier gesien nie. Kom hy in alle dele van die land voor?
(En nou gaan ek eers alles lees wat ek gemis het. Mooi dag verder! x)

Andrea said...

I didn't really think they could live so long.
Like many animals in africa they have beautiful colors too.
The only one I know in Italy is absolutely black.
Anyway a black dress is always elegant :)

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Ek is bly om weer van jou te hoor Ida. Ek hoop dit gaan goed? Is dit amper somer by jou? Ek wens net ons sal reen kry.

Daar is twee soorte van die groen een - die kleintjie kry jy oorals behalwe in die Kaap maar die groot een soos in die foto, is net van St Lucia, op met die kus en toe in Krugerwildtuin. Hulle is regtig pragtig.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

I think my favourite is the first with its many colours Andrea, and you are right, things like insects and birds here do have wonderful colours.

Yes, black is very elegant. :) Some of ours like the one in the 5th picture is plain black too but they tend to eat each other. LOL!!

JM said...

... And I thought they all look alike!... It's so funny watching them. The metalic colours are amazing.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

If one can put up with the smell, they are fascinating to watch Jose especially in the mating season when the males are having their fights over the females. :) Surely there is a better place to fight than in a dung heap? LOL!!

Firefly said...

The only one that you really find around here that I know of is the flightless dung beetle at Addo. They are highly endangered and its always a great pleasure to find them.

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

I also thought they all looked alike!!! I am amazed at how many different kinds there are.

Joan the SA blog awards want details for nominees and as I cannto do yours, I dont know them. Maybe you can fill them in at http://dev.sablogawards.com/Join.aspx
Diane

Gaelyn said...

Dung beetles are Awesome! What a service they provide getting rid of the Mule dung off the canyon trails. I was captivated by them in Kruger.

Mike says when you come here, he promises to take a pic of you eating ice cream overlooking the canyon.

Craver Vii said...

I like that iridescent coloring, but I'm amazed at how strong the male Onthophagus taurus can be! He's a super pooper-scooper!!

Max-e said...

Hi Joan, these are quite hansome fellows. Been enjoying your other posts as well.
Thanks for your visits and your comments. It has been a great week getting to know my long lost sister. It has been an amazing week and we are really doing a lot of catching up. I cannot believe that I have found her again.

blog with no name said...

Wow! Talk about starting life out rough... " I was born in... well... a dung pile. The only thing we had to eat was dung! And then as if that wasn't bad enough, all my kids were born in dung piles, and all they have to eat is dung! " LOL!

Maybe if a person had a bucket full of those in the back yard... cleaning up after the dog sure would be a whole lot easier! :)

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

There are quite a few species found in your area Jonker but maybe you are not taking enough notice of the differences. From far, they all tend to look the same but one of them is a small bright green one.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

We do tend to overlook them Diane. :)

Thanks, I received an e-mail from them too and went and completed the form. Once again THANK YOU for nominating my blog. It is very sweet of you to do so.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

I think I mentioned to you that they even went so far as to export them to Australia in order to help with the soil erosion there. Quite handy little fellows I think.

Tell Mike I am going to hold him to that promise. :)

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

LOL!! But it is used mostly for digging burrows and only a small percentage of the time for patting dung into nice round balls. :) Thanks Craver.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Max. I am SO pleased for you. I hope she stay nearby so you can visit each other all the time. What a wonderful story this is.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

A good idea you have there Mike. I will mention it to a few people who have dogs. :)

LOL!! That is really what they call a sh.. life!! LOL!! I sent you a cartoon via Gaelyn which I think you will like. :)

Glen Webber (Wildlife Photography) said...

Wow. Amazingly beautiful insects!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Glen. Quite colourful and amazing little critters. :)

Bhavesh Chhatbar said...

Insects are so creepy, but your photography must be changing views of many around the world. Congratulations!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Bhavesh. I see a lot of people now also taking pictures of them so the word is spreading they are not as bad as everyone thought. :)

Krista said...

Mmmmm... Duuuunnnnnggggggg!!! LOL... I am always so awed by the amount these little critters can move/pack/carry around! Very impressive! :o)

birdy said...

Hi Joan! You presented these dung beetles so beautifully, with interesting information. So far I kept myself away from these beetles. But now I will try to explore dung beetles of our area.

Becky and Gary said...

Wow, how interesting Joan. At first glance I thought the first picture was a Japanese Beetle.
Good facts!
B.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Oh so you play in the dung too Krista? LOL!! YUCK!! A smelly pastime at best.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Birdy. I am sure you have many species there and I would love to see them to compare with ours.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Becky. I do not know that beetle but will look it up.

Philip said...

Great close up shots Joan and I thought all Dung beetles were Black not shinny greens :) just goes to show you we learn everyday :))

JRandSue said...

What a stunning collection,fab macro work.
John.

Anna said...

Joan I guess there is an advantage to live in the tropical areas. We don't get that many nice creatures here, but then I don't know if I would like them around too, lol. Anna :) PS excellent macros.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thay are a beautiful family of beetles Philip. I guess I only notice the difference in colours because of my interest in them.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks John. They are interesting fellows to take pictures of but thank goodness you cannot smell the dung. :)

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks Anna. Our weather certainly has a lot to do with the great varity we have here, not only in insects, but birds, trees etc too.

Rambling Woods said...

I thought they were all dull and black...fascinating little creatures

Mary said...

I like their colors...great variety here.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Now you know different Michelle. :)

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Me too Mary. These are just a small selection of them.

Sandra said...

I checked out the hyena, who knew they could be so cute and came straight to the beetle. i took a picture yesterday of one, bright green, and had never seen a green one, we have lots of black so i thought it was something new. thanks for the info. had no idea what they are called. i saved the green one from the pool.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Thanks for visiting and commenting Sandra. I am pleased you rescued the one frm the pool. I do the same and then people think I am slightly crazy. Well they are almost right except I am a bit crazier than they think I am. LOL!!