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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 March, 2012

Dor Beetle (Geotrupes stercorarius)

Beauty or the beast? An ugly "creepy crawly" or an amazingly coloured beetle?

The Dor Beetle is bit of a beast I suppose, it certainly does not have a pretty face. It is often found on cow dung and actually spend a lot of time under ground where it digs shafts below the dung and burying it. They then use it to lay their eggs in so that the larvae have an instant food supply. My book says that this species is also called the Lousy Watchman because it is commonly infested with mites! Not a very pleasant little creature then.

But see them plodding along a woodland or heathland path in bright sunshine and they are wonderfully metalic in colour varying between blue and green as the angle between them and the sun changes. Their legs, too, despite being 'hairy' share this wonderful colouring. As well as the brilliant coloroung they are also very useful creatures clearing up waste products and helping in the recycling of materials by turning cow dung back to fertile soil which will support further plant life in future and provide more food for the hungy cow which is food and drink for us.

So, spare a thought for the Dor Beetle; may be it is not so ugly after all?

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Find out more about the nature of Dorset at www.natureofdorset.co.uk