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Species: G. stercorarius
The expression Dung beetle refers to several species of beetles that feed on dung and collect their nourishment (to preserve it or to lay their eggs on it) making characteristic bullets and rolling them on the ground. This kind of behavior is exhibited by different species of the Scarabaeidae and Geotrupidae families.
Distinctive features of dung are the sturdy and toothed front legs, which have a petrified function, the flattened head, the rounded body and the proportionally long hind legs. Many species can carry integumental reliefs (horns or other) on the dorsal area of the thorax or even on the head. To easily distinguish if the dung you are looking at is a scarabeid or a geotrupid look at it from above: if you can see the jaws easily it is a geotrupid, if the head hides them it is instead a scarabeide.
The most appropriate use of the adjective adjective is in reference to Geotrupes stercorarius, but the following species are commonly called dung beetles:
- Circellium bacchus
- Scarabaeus sacer
- Scarabaeus semipunctatus
In autumn the couple devotes themselves to the preparation of the nest, digging a vertical gallery in the ground, to which the female then adds numerous horizontal side tunnels, each ending with a large chamber. Each chamber is filled with excrements, leaving only a small space free on the bottom where an egg is laid: the larvae can thus count on abundant food supplies. The development cycle lasts 2 years and the new adults are ready in July, but winter in the underground cells, only to come out in the following spring.
Dashboard - Geotrupes stercorarius (photo http://micropics.org.uk)
Dashboard - Geotrupes stercorarius (photo http://bells18-diasenelcampo.blogspot.it)