What Do Dung Beetles Eat

What Do Dung Beetles Eat ?

As the name suggests, adult dung beetles primarily eat dung, or animal feces, and they also carry the feces of animals to feed their young ones. When adult beetles mate, they first look for a pile of animal feces, which serves as food for their young. Once the food source is found, the beetles burrow under it to have constant supply of food.

After digging the burrows, dung beetles they roll small balls of the dung and carry it into their burrow. The dung balls are lined at the bottom of the burrow and the female then lays one egg inside each ball. (See Reference 1)

Once the eggs hatch, larvae emerge and they have the dung to supply them their nutrients. The larvae reside in the dung balls and keep growing until it reaches the pupal stage. This occurs within the dung ball. Once the pupal stage is reached, the pupa forms a cocoon and it is inside this cocoon that the pupa of the dung beetle attains adulthood. (See Reference 1) Once adulthood is attained, the beetle digs its way out of the burrow and begins foraging for new piles of dung.

The dung beetle is most active from spring right until fall. It possesses excellent sense of smell and this helps the beetle to find dung even when it is very far away. In fact, when an animal evacuates its bowel, with few minutes dung beetles find their way to fresh dung. The dung beetle is an effective decomposer and can make a pile of dung disappear within a matter of just few hours. (See Reference 1) This helps to re-introduce nutrients into the soil which can then be utilized by plants and other animals.

In addition, dung beetles are also known to consume decaying fruits and leaves, and mushrooms. (See Reference 2) One species of the dung beetle found in South America has been known to consume millipedes.

More Articles :

What Do Dung Beetles Eat 1. Fairfax County Public Schools: Dung Beetle

2. Wikipedia: Dung Beetle