The ecological meaning of dung beetles for the nutrient circle is huge: on the one hand, they lower the risk of diseases for cattle herds by carrying away faeces; on the other hand they promote a kind of natural fertilisation by digging faeces into deeper surfaces of the earth.
Another very special trait of dung beetles is the way they orientate. Scientists were able to prove that dung beetles are the only non-human species which navigate by using the Milky Way and the stars. These beetles are able to memorise the spangled sky while they are spinning around their own axis on a ball of faeces. This discovery was honoured with the Ig-Nobel Prize (a satirist equivalent to the real Nobel Prize) which was given away for results in science that make people laugh in the first place but delivers food for thought in the second place.
As a part of our NATUCATE ranger courses in Southern Africa you can observe the behaviour of the amazing dung beetle in the wild.
Author: David Pyka - NATUCATE