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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

13 April, 2011

Minotaur Beetle (Typhaeus typhoeus)

Nature's dustmen! The scarab beetles form the order Scarabaeoidea and they specialise in dung.
OK, they have what is an unpleasant job through human eyes but it is, none the less, an important one in the natural cycle of things.
This is a male Minatour Beetle, identified by its amazing array of three thoracic spines (ie spines coming from the thorax rather than the head like a Stag Beetle).
They are found mainly in sandy soils where they bury rabbit droppings on which both adults and larvae feed. They tend to be on the move in the evenings and we found this one, upside down and struggling to right itself near the farm fields at Arne where the Sika Deer feed. As these beetles also specialise in sheep dung it occurs to us maybe deer droppings are suitable too?
Not much to look at perhaps but interesting. The male collects the dung (using those horns presumably) and the female, without horns, does the burying. I guess those horns would be a major impediment in getting below ground?