Dung beetle group on elephant excrement, South Africa

Dung beetles

Given their name, it should come as no surprise that dung beetles feed on faeces, which makes them useful recyclers. There are three main types of dung beetles: rollers, tunnellers and dwellers. The dwellers actually live in the dung. Typical dung beetle appearance is a grooved shield, large, strong front limbs for digging and fighting and elongated back legs for holding on to dung balls whilst rolling them along. Long flying wings are folded under hard wing covers. Some of the well known families in the dung beetle superfamily are the stag, bess and scarab beetles. Dung beetles can be found on every continent except Antarctica.

Did you know?
There is a species of African dung beetle that navigates by the polarization patterns in moonlight.

Scientific name: Scarabaeoidea

Rank: Superfamily

Common names:

Scarab beetles

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The Dung beetles can be found in a number of locations including: Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, Russia, South America. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

BBC News about Dung beetles

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