dung beetle

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A dung beetle rolling a ball of dung with its hind legs



dung beetle (plural dung beetles)

  1. Any of the beetle of the family Scarabaeidae (scarab beetles), especially of the subfamilies Scarabaeinae and Aphodiinae, noted for rolling dung into balls for use as food or as brooding chambers.
    • 1925 July – 1926 May, A[rthur] Conan Doyle, “(please specify the chapter number)”, in The Land of Mist (eBook no. 0601351h.html), Australia: Project Gutenberg Australia, published April 2019:
      "They went in together. His was accepted and mine rejected. The title of his paper was 'The Reproductive System of the Dung-Beetle'." There was a general laugh.
    • 1990, Marina Tyndale-Biscoe, Common Dung Beetles in Pastures of South-eastern Australia, [Collingwood, Vic.?]: Division of Entomology, CSIRO Publishing, →ISBN, page 2:
      What do dung beetles do? Adults and larvae of dung beetles feed only on dung and therefore are not a threat to the environment. This is in contrast to some other beetles found in dung pads, (not dung beetles) which feed on vegetable and other matter besides dung, while others are carnivorous. The activity of adult dung beetles can break up the dung pad, and most species bury the dung in the ground for feeding and breeding.
    • 2005, Marty [Martha L.] Crump, Headless Males Make Great Lovers: And Other Unusual Natural Histories, Chicago, Ill., London: University of Chicago Press, →ISBN, page 73:
      And then there are dung beetles, feces-eaters extraordinaire. The sacred dung scarab of Egypt symbolized resurrection and immortality, explaining why the ancient Egyptians often placed these beetles in tombs with the dead and why they painted dung beetle figures on their sarcophagi.
    • 2010, Aaron Reynolds, The Dung Beetle Bandits, London: Raintree Publishers, →ISBN:
      Some dung beetles, called rollers, use their back legs to roll dung into a smooth, tiny ball. [] The ancient Egyptians believed that the sun was rolled across the sky by a giant dung beetle named Khepri.
    • 2014, Emma Carlson Berne, Dung Beetles: Stronger than Ten Men! (Animal Superpowers), New York, N.Y.: PowerKiDS Press, →ISBN, page 22:
      Without dung beetles, the world would be a dirtier place. Animal dung can carry parasites and other germs that can make livestock sick. Farmers and ranchers need dung beetles to keep their pastures clean. Dung beetles clear away 80 percent of the cow manure in the whole of Texas.
  2. Any of the true dung beetles of subfamily Scarabaeinae.


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