Dung Beetles and Other Animal Fables

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Some male dung beetles have strong horns on their heads, too. Found worldwide on every continent except Antartica, these brilliant bugs live in habitats ranging from hot, dry deserts to lush forests.

Dung beetles can tell us a lot about the natural history of Europe

And any ideas what these insects like to eat? Yup, you guessed it…dung or animal poop, as you might call it. There are three main types of dung beetle — rollers , tunnellers and dwellers — each named for the way the way the beetles use the poop they find. Rollers shape dung into balls and roll them away from the pile.

Roll away with our fab facts about this bonkers bug!

They then burry the ball to either munch on later or to use as a place to lay their eggs. The female beetle then stays in the tunnel sorting out the dung brought down by the male. Dwellers, on the other hand, simply live inside the pooey pile. Female dwellers lay their eggs there, and when the larvae or young hatch they happily munch away on the food that surrounds them.

Nom nom nom! So, why would a insect want to eat poo? Well, when an animal such as an elephant, cow or rhino munches on some tasty grub, there are always parts of the food that pass through its body undigested, and end up in its dung. Its these nutritious bits of undigested food that dung beetles tuck into.

Billy the Dung Beetle (Paperback)

Larvae eat the solid poop, while the adult beetles generally suck up the nutritious moisture found inside the dung. These cool critters may be small, but boy are they are they mighty! While you wait for it to be checked and approved why not to add a pre-selected message and a cool badge.

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In the Last Glacial, the cold climate prevented development of closed forests and Great Britain was basically an open landscape. However, in the early Holocene, semi-closed and closed forest was much more prevalent.

This was either because of human hunting of large herbivores or that the loss of the mega-herbivores elephants, mammoth and rhino reduced effectiveness of the grazing and browsing pressure that would otherwise suppress tree establishment. Then, in the Late Holocene, but still before industrial farming, humans dominated the landscape and the massive impact of farming and the connected domestic animals, generated a composition of dung beetles quite similar to that of the Last Interglacial period, and we actually ended up with a pretty similar landscape as well, when it comes to the degree of openness and closed forest cover.


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  • Neither the variation in climate, nor the frequency of wild fires can explain the patterns found. It is also believed that the changes found for Great Britain also apply for the temperate part of continental Europe — and maybe even for North America and Eastern Asia as well, which all suffered similar losses of mega-fauna as Europe did. What lessons can we draw from these findings when it comes to the management of nature in modern Europe?

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    The authors also emphasize the importance of, so called, abiotic landscape factors such as topography, hydrology and soil conditions. However, the ecological impact of large herbivores must always be seen in a wider ecological context with as many as possible of the other natural processes as well, both biotic e.

    Dung beetle - Wikipedia

    How this will shape European nature in the future still remains to be seen — but it stands to be a wilder future! Dung beetles can tell us a lot about the natural history of Europe April 2, Back to news. Related stories. Why did Aurochs and Wisent disappear September 19, Subscribe to our newsletter:.

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