Dung Beetles-Geotrupidae

A small family consisting of approximately 300 species, the Geotrupidae closely resemble the Scarabaeidae, or scarab beetles, which we will discuss in the following section. In fact, some classification systems list the geotrupids as a subfamily of the Scarabaeidae. Geotrupids are distinguished from scarab beetles primarily by their antennae, which are divided into 11 segments. The antennae of scarab beetles have between 7 and 10 segments.

In most species, the adults feed on the excrement of vertebrates. However, a few species feed on underground fungi, fruit, or green shoots. Those that devour plant shoots often cause extensive damage.

Organized groups of geotrupids work together to build nests for their offspring. These nests usually consist of vertical tunnels dug in easily crumbled soil; smaller blind tunnels branch off from the main tunnel. A single egg is laid in each of the smaller tunnels. The tunnel is then filled with excrement or partially chewed plant tissues, which will be eaten by the soon-to-emerge larva.

Geofrupes. Members of the genus Geotrupes are metallic green in color and are often seen on country and mountain paths. G. splendidus, which can be found throughout the eastern United States, feeds on cow dung.


INDEX : Insects   January 11, 2016 02:26:10 PM