Saturday, November 25, 2006

Dung ball heros - a beetle battle

Dung beetles come in two varieties, the hard working types and lazy bums. Hard working beetles locate their target by a strong sense of smell. Once located, they pull off chunks of the mess and roll it into balls, a job usually done by the male watched by his partner. Ball is then rolled straight off to a desirable location by the amorous couple who then use it as food cum breeding chamber.

Once in a while a lazy bum lies in ambush, especially while the female is not around. The male intent on rolling the ball in a straight line despite any obstacles. The bum tries to take advantage of this obsession and some times succeeds but often has to be content with a small chunk of the ball.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

I'm a dung beetle & that mess is my food!

Strolling around in a scrub jungle has certain advantages, and disadvantages. It puts you close to the action and gives a grandstand view of the happenings in the undergrowth. Of course, it also makes you a tempting target for thorn's, bugs and leeches. In the preoccupation to avoid the latter we may miss some interesting things closer to the ground.

The dung beetle maybe an uninteresting creature and to many of us the porcine equivalent of the insect world because of it's habits. Let me assure you, a closer look will halt you in your tracks. It is an enterprising creature and will fight to keep its mess ..... Er! I mean it's prize.

Dung beetles are classified into rollers, (the one in the picture) tunnelers & dwellers. Rollers simply roll the dung into balls and roll them off to the to use as food or a brood chamber. The tunnelers bury the dung where the find it and the dweller s simply live in dung (Yuck!)