Kruger National Park’s Dung Beetles
Our guide, Trevor, did a marvellous job capturing these parent Dung Beetles rolling away with their ball of dung. All species belong to superfamily Scarabaeoidea.
Interestingly, they are one of the few insects which show parental care towards their young and some species will mate for life.
There are 3 categories of Dung Beetles: Rollers, Tunnellers, Dwellers. Rollers will roll dung balls to their tunnelled nest nearby the dung pile; Tunnellers dig tunnels underground below the dung pile; Dwellers will simply live within the dung pile.
The males roll the dung ball and the females will prepare the nest however, this is not the case for all species. Research has been done to prove that one species of African dung beetle, Scarabaeus satyrus, first climbs on top of his sphere and it appears to be some kind of dance but in fact, he is busy orientating himself, as one can imagine the difficulties of attempting to roll in a straight line, in the bush. He uses the Milky Way as a guide to steering its dung ball home.
By laying their eggs inside the dung, they provide protection as well as food and through excreting liquid from their faces, adults will also supplement food with a drink.
Whilst it may not sound like a glamorous job, Dung Beetles have a very important task of being a decomposer and they seem to absolutely love it.