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The Dung Beetle

By March 6, 2021Pete & Vickis Blog

The Dung Beetle

Often when people visit Africa they are hoping to capture”The Big Five”. That’s to be expected but Africa is more than just ‘ The Big Five’

The Dung Beetle of Africa is so tiny and yet it plays a significant role in Africa’s eco system. The Dung Beetle may not be huge, gigantic, impressive to most but the role of the Dung Beetle is crucial to the eco system of Africa and this is epic. It’s crucial to the fertilization of the soils of Africa which in turn effect the grasses that grow.

The Dung Beetles are also known as  the rollers, tunnelers, and dwellers.They roll the dung into a ball, roll it away, and bury it. The balls they make are either used by the female to lay her eggs in (called a brood ball) or as food for the adults to eat. The circle of life here is remarkable.

They do this under ground  and the dung also fertilizers the land. This is a rich fertilizer for the land.

The males dung beetles use their horns to beat rivals, driving them out of tunnels and away from females.

The role of the Dung Beetle is two fold.It’s recycling and removing feces,  and these these unsung insects make Africa go around.Dung is not a dirty word in the land of the Dung Beetle. It is a fascinating process, and the start of a complex interaction of recycling and reusing.It is incredible how the amazing the design of nature operates. All of this plays out on a daily basis in Africa while the larger animals of Africa go about their own business.

There are so many small but significant wonders in Africa. The Dung Beetle is just one of those.Some species of dung beetles can bury dung 250 times their own mass in one night which is a marvel in itself.

Dung beetles can also navigate when only the Milky Way is out or certain clusters of bright stars are visible which makes them up until this point known to us, the  only insect known to orient themselves by the Milky Way.

When you visit Africa, if it is not with Africa Running Wild Safaris, ask your guide to find a Dung Beetle and spend a little time watching these amazing insects at work. The small things of Africa, complete the over all picture of the wonders of Africa. 🙂


Author Pete

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