Dung Beetles

Monday, July 9th 2018

Before we get onto Dung Beetles of the UK I must make mention of the kids from Great Smeaton School who found one during today's Mini-beast Hunt. Aside from searching for Scarabs the group also took part in Pond Dipping, Habitat Walks and Scavenger Hunt activities throughout a fun-filled day at Foxglove.

We had yet to reach the Outdoor Classroom to begin hunting for Mini-beasts when the best of the day's bugs was found.

I am yet to work out which of the 60 species of dung-feeding Scarab Beetles this is, having narrowed it down to a member of the Geotrupes family.  

Dung Beetles are grouped according to how they use dung, in Britain we have Tunnellers (Paracoprids) and Dwellers (Endocoprids), but lack the most famous of the groups known as Rollers (Telecoprids).

Tunnellers dig, burying the dung below ground, where they lay eggs and larvae develop. Dwellers generally spend their entire life in the poo, although the larvae of some species are found just under the soil surface.

The individual that the kids from Great Smeaton found was heavily laden with mites, which upon first glance may look to be a bad thing. However transporting mites that eat dung breeding flies is just one of many ecosystem services that these incredible Beetles carry out.

Dung Beetles also dispose of dung, fertilize soil through burying, act as a food source for birds and bats, enhance soil structure, reduce greenhouse gases and improve drainage (these creatures are truly amazing!).

Unfortunately British Dung Beetles are in decline for a number of reasons, including the overwintering of livestock away from fields,short term rotation grazing, removal of permanent pastures, chemical fertilisation of pastures, removal of dung and worming of livestock.

When you look at this list of reasons you quickly notice that they do not apply to the management techniques used here at Foxglove, which is why I hope to see more of these marvellous Mini-beasts in the future.


(1) Comments:

Ceri Watkins responded on 11th Apr 2019 with...

Hi
Looks like Geotrupes spiniger. Lovely little beast and nice to see everyone had a good time on the minibeast hunt. Please can you submit the biological record to iRecord (https://www.brc.ac.uk/irecord)? Any records for other dung beetle sightings in the future would also be appreciated. You can also create an iRecord activity for the Nature Reserve which will log all the biological diversity that you find. Most find it a really useful tool to keep track of all the lovely
We do encourage sharing the dung beetle love (all DUMP material is licensed under Creative Commons), perhaps you could add a link or acknowledgment please.
Many Thanks


Leave a Comment:

Please complete this field, it's required. Your email address will not be displayed but it's required.

Your email address will not be displayed but it's required.

Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?


Back to Top

Help Support Foxglove

Friends of Foxglove

The Friends of Foxglove Covert is for those individuals, families and organisations who would like to support the reserve through an annual membership subscription. Friends receive a regular newsletter and invitations to attend our various activities and social events.

More Details

Upcoming Events


Moth Identification Morning

Saturday 8th June 2019 | 08.00

Join Charlie Fletcher (County Recorder for moths) as he identifies hundreds of moths that have been caught in the overnight traps across this site. As the traps are emptied Charlie will be telling us all about these beautiful creatures, while giving us helpful identification tips.

A minimum donation of £5 per person in advance to guarantee a place. Card payments can be taken by phone.



Pond Dipping for Adults

Wednesday 19th June 2019 | 10.00-12.00

Ever wondered what the children are looking at in the sinks on the pond-dipping platforms? Do you work with children or want to know more so that you teach your own children about freshwater habitats and wildlife? Maybe you are just interested and would like to have a go! This is a chance to study some of the fauna that lurk in the depths of the Foxglove ponds. Booking essential as places are limited. A minimum donation of £5 per person in advance to guarantee a place. Card payments can be taken by phone.



VIEW ALL EVENTS

Undergrowth Newsletter


Undergrowth Newsletter Winter to Spring 2019
{alt}

Read all about what has been happening on the reserve over the winter months.

Read this Issue


Undergrowth Newsletter Autumn 2018
{alt}

A busy summer at Foxglove. Read about bird ringing near and far and lots of species.

Read this Issue


Undergrowth Newsletter Spring 2018
{alt}

An update on recent events and projects on the reserve and more.

Read this Issue


View All The Newsletters

Recent Blog Posts

Blog Archive