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Minotaur beetle: down under

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Minotaur beetle: down under

Nature's dustmen! The scarab beetles form the order Scarabaeoidea and they specialise in dung. OK, they have what is an unpleasant job through human eyes but it is, none the less, an important one in the natural cycle of things. It is a dirty job but someone has to do it ...

This is a male minatour beetle (Typhaeus typhoeus), identified by its amazing three thoracic spines (ie spines coming from the thorax rather than the head like a stag beetle). The three spines are only found on the male; it may looks a bit ferocious but it is quite harmless, it's a vegetarian! These beetles are found mainly on sandy soils where they bury rabbit droppings on which both adults and larvae feed. They tend to be on the move in the evenings and we found this one, upside down and struggling to right itself near the farm fields at Arne where the sika deer feed. As these beetles also specialise in sheep dung it seems deer droppings are suitable too?

Not much to look at perhaps but interesting nonetheless. The male collects a dung pellet and transports it between the back of its head and its horns to the burrow where the female, without horns, takes it down under the surface. I guess those horns would be a major impediment in getting below ground?


 

If you would like to see the complete series that this post is part of click here ---->
This nature note was written by ----> Peter Orchard
This nature nore was written ----> 2 years 12 months ago

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