Are Dung Beetles Decomposers

Are Dung Beetles Decomposers ?

Dung beetles play an extremely important role in maintaining the ecosystem. They get their name because of their very nature. They roll animal dung in the forest, decompose them and make readymade fertilizers for plants. In fact, all varieties of beetles are helpful for the nature in one or the other way. Hence, it can be presumed that dung beetles are decomposers.

The beetles are capable of breaking down large quantities of animal dung, and they either decompose it or bury it. Some beetles may roll small balls of dung to safer locations for use later on. It is not that a dung beetle just rolls one ball of dung away. Instead, the same beetle will systematically roll away large amounts of animal dung over a period of time. The fresher the dung, the better it is. (See Reference 1)

While it may sound horrible imagining an insect consuming dung or animal feces, but if you take the larger picture into account, you will understand how important this task is. The dung beetle by decomposing animal poop is actually producing manure and returning nutrients to the soil in a natural way. The nutrients become available for plants and these plants then can be consumed by herbivores.

Dung beetles are extremely interesting species to observe. There are more than 37,000 classified species of the beetle, and they have different sizes, colors and characteristics. Almost all the dung beetles come with a hard exoskeleton so that predators find it difficult to eat them and the exoskeleton also offers them protection from injuries. Nearly all species of this beetle resemble the colors of the earth and dung, so that they are hidden from predators. (See Reference 1)

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