What makes dung beetles so strong

Common dung beetle

The common dung beetle or horse beetle (Geotrupes stercorarius) from the dung beetle family (Geotrupidae) can live two to three years.

The beetle is black with a blue sheen and reaches a size of 16 to 25 mm. On the wing covers there are longitudinal stripes with weakly recognizable points.

The beetles are diurnal and therefore quite frequent, in the evening with a distinct humming sound, can be observed flying just above the ground. They are able to make chirping noises with their back hips.

The mating season extends over the spring. Long before the eggs are laid, a pair of common dung beetles prepares the breeding chamber. In doing so, they dig under a ball of dung a tube that is over half a meter long and ends in a chamber. Several cross aisles lead away from the chamber and serve as storage facilities. When the building is finished and there is a ball of feces in the brood chamber, the female lays an egg on the ball. The entrances are then closed with additional droppings. The larva that hatches from the egg feeds on the dung for the next few months. It overwinters as a larva and pupates in spring. Shortly afterwards, the finished beetle hatches to the surface of the earth.

Because of the application of pesticides to pastures and fields, the common dung beetle has become rare in large parts of its distribution areas. The life of the dung beetle is also endangered by drugs, for example wormers, which are administered to farm animals. Because the highly effective insecticides make the excrement of the animals poisonous and the dung beetles which are attracted by the smell of the feces then perish. The dung beetle population is declining sharply.