The Mighty Dung Beetle
While the majority of the human population quivers at the thought of ingesting manure, the mighty dung beetle rises to the challenge, and uses the manure in unique ways. Without dung beetles, pastures would be overrun with manure and flies- and parasites would run amuck. I’m no expert but according to the Sustainable Parasite Management division at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, affectionately known as PU, the dung beetle is beneficial to our environment. They help keep the soil cleaner, reduce pollution and algae formation in our waters, and acts as an organic pooper scooper for our livestock farms. First let’s begin by identifying the different types of dung beetles. These meadow muffin munchers are divided into three classifications, Rollers, Tunnellers and Dwellers. The Rollers do just that..they roll the prairie patties into smooth, round balls called brood balls. Then they roll the brood balls away to a more desirable location. Once the rollers find the perfect location for their new abode, they bury it into the ground. The female will lay a single egg into the brood ball and then coat and seal it with a mixture of dung, saliva, and of course, her own fecal matter. After the egg hatches, the baby dung beetle devours the dung and lives in the brood ball until it reaches maturity. Then there are the Tunnellers. They dig tunnels in the ground in depths of between a few centimeters to 1 meter. This is large enough for them to live and move around in. Once the tunnel has been dug, they pull the manure in to the tunnel and place it throughout. Inside their new home is where the female lays her eggs. Storing the manure underground helps keep it fresh and protects the growing babies from predators and parasites.
The last of the waste managers are the Dwellers who live on top of the pasture patty. The female lays her eggs on top of manure piles, and the entire development from egg to adult takes place inside the pile. Dwellers...
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