Dung Beetle Larvae

dung beetle larva inside dung dung beetle larvae

Adult dung beetles also use dung to line the underground tunnels they construct to house their brood balls, which are moulded spheres of dung constructed by the adults to house their eggs. Most species lay one egg in a single ball but others may build a more cylindrical brood 'ball' in which they lay two or three eggs. When larvae hatch from the eggs they feed on the dung from their brood balls. Once growth is complete the larva pupates, after which the new adult emerges. The young adult makes its way to the surface and seeks out a new dung pat and the cycle begins again.

This continuous relocation and burial of dung by the beetles provides both environmental and agricultural benefits because it facilitates nutrient recycling and improves the quality of pastures.