The Very Strong Dung Beetle

September 9, 2015
dung beetle

Dung beetles are some of the most amazing insects out here in the bush! We have been experiencing some very warm weather at Gondwana Game Reserve lately and with this have noticed many signs of dungbeetles. Dung beetles (coprophages, which means faeces eaters – although some do feed on mushrooms and rotting vegetation), are the clean-up crew of nature. They are able to carry off and scatter a pile of dung in an short amount of time! They are also the strongest animal in the world! They can lift an object 1140 times its own body weight. To put this into perspective, a man weighing 76 kg would need to lift up to 87 tonnes ( that’s about 12 elephants)

 Guests at Gondwana are generally fascinated and highly entertained by the dungbeetles. In the video below, we are looking at three beetles, 2 competitive males and a female hanging on to a dung ball for dear life.  People are always amazed by the strength and tenacity of these beetles, as they roll their ball of dung in a straight line over very difficult obstacles. When appropriate soil is located, a male and female pair will bury their ball in the soil. The female will then lay her eggs in the ball and the larvae are left to develop.

By Melanie Delamare