Dung Beetles

The Rainbow Scarab, one our showiest dung beetles. This photo was taken in Ulster County.

Dung Beetles are widespread but somewhat retiring members of our insect fauna. They are perhaps most evident through the 'bore holes' they leave in dung piles (see Rachel's photo at top of page). They and their colleagues in dung decomposition play an important role in re-integrating dung nutrients into the soil. In the summer of 2019, Rachel Stone, who had just finished her Masters at Witchita State University, joined us for five weeks of dung beetle sampling on regional farms. The goal was to get a first dung beetle species list for the County and create a reference collection that could serve as the basis of future work. Rachel's preliminary list (below) contains 17 species. As Rachel would be the first to point out, a five week survey at 7 sites is hardly exhaustive - there may be a good number more dung beetle species in our area.

Before heading back to Kansas, Rachel presented a well-attended talk which summarized dung beetle ecology and presented some of her initial findings. This is a copy of that talk including her notes.