dung beetle


dung beetle

noun

Definition of DUNG BEETLE

:  a beetle (as a tumblebug) that rolls balls of dung in which to lay eggs and on which the larvae feed

First Known Use of DUNG BEETLE

circa 1634

dung beetle

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Any member of one subfamily (Scarabaeinae) of scarab beetles, which shapes manure into a ball (sometimes as large as an apple) with its scooperlike head and paddle-shaped antennae. They vary from 0.2 to more than 1 in. (5–30 mm) long. In early summer it buries itself and the ball and feeds on it. Later in the season the female deposits eggs in dung balls, on which the larvae will later feed. They are usually round with short wing covers (elytra) that expose the end of the abdomen. They can eat more than their own weight in 24 hours and are considered helpful because they hasten the conversion of manure to substances usable by other organisms.

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