Dung Beetle
Order Coleoptera
Family Scarabaeidae

Aphodius niger                                                  A. rafipes

Males and female dung beetles are between ½ and 1 inch long. Most are small, dull to shiny black, copper, reddish, or brown, with wing covers that may have ridges. The mouthparts are for chewing. Larvae feed on animal excrement buried by the adults. The front legs are modified for digging. All dung beetles or "tumblebugs" are important in recycling animal feces. They are often attracted to lights at night. These beetles are related to the sacred scarab of ancient Egypt, Scarabaeus sacer Linnaeus.

Adult males and females work in pairs, dig deep burrows underneath animal excrement in which they bury portions of the droppings. Eggs, deposited in the excrement, hatch and feed on the dung. The grubs develop through several stages (instars) before pupating within cells in the remains of the excrement.

The dung beetle removes about 80 percent of all animal droppings.

Dung beetles play an important role in nature: reducing fecal material and thereby reducing the habitat for filth-breeding flies; considered beneficial and medically harmless. Dung beetles are considered a beneficial insect.

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