Dung Beetles are fascinating creatures, working tirelessly to bury dung around the country, often going unnoticed. As soon as you begin to understand the importance of these little creatures as one of nature’s greatest recyclers you will never look at a pile of dung the same.
One cow produces approximately 18 kilograms of dung per day, and for a herd of 100 head, this equates to 1800kgs per day, 12,600 kgs per week and 655,200 kgs per year. Imagine the landscape without dung beetles!!
The benefits of dung beetle activity include:
- Improved soil fertility
- Improved soil structure
- Improved soil biology
- Increased availability of grazing area
- Increased pasture productivity
- Improved water quality
- Improved water infiltration
- Reduced pest species and diseases associated with pest species
From 1968 to 1984 the CSIRO introduced dung beetle species from Africa and Europe in an attempt to improve dung burial and so reduce fly numbers. Over 16 years more than 50 dung beetle species were introduced and of these 23 species have established.
There has been a large amount of work in the North East to understand the value of dung beetles, monitor beetle species and abundance, and establish additional species. One community group (Lucyvale Better Beef Group) in the region developed the Dung Beetle Resource Kit in 2008, which collated all known information.
The kit also includes instructions on how to undertake regular dung beetle monitoring, identify species and record data.
This kit is available to download all or components on the
North East Dung Beetle Project site
Recently, the monitoring data for the North East Dung Beetle Project was added to the Atlas of Living Australia as a collection. To view these records, please go to the Atlas of Living Australia
If you are interested in monitoring Dung Beetles in your area, there is now a Citizen Science Project on the Biocollect portal, where people can contribute sightings or monitoring data. Anyone can contribute, particularly if you include photographs to verify identification.
Biocollect Dung Beetle Project Site
The North East Regional Landcare Facilitator Project produced a short film on Dung Beetles, with two versions, a summary 2 minute video, and a 7 minute story. There is an accompanying fact sheet on beetles to go with this video. To see all, go to the CMA YouTube channel
Below is the 7 minute video.