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Anyone who has ever examined a cowpat will probably have noticed a patchwork of holes beneath it. These holes are made by the adult beetles burrowing down into the soil, taking with them particles of dung as food supplies for their larvae. Animal dung is rich in nutrient and dung beetles play an important role in returning much of this material to the soil. Their larvae, in eating much of this plant matter, make it more accessible to bacteria and other soil-living organisms which, in turn, allow the soil to maintain its fertility. In other parts of the world, relatives of the dor beetle make small balls of animal dung, which they roll away to suitable nest sites constructed underground. Adults are strong fliers and can travel some distance in search of suitable food supplies for their young. Sometimes they turn up in parks and gardens and this is where people are most likely to find them on the ground. The adults are often infested with small copper-coloured mites, a phenomenon that has led to the beetles' folk-name of 'lousy watchman'.


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Source: ARKive

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