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Small Five’s star performer: the dung beetle

Mon 22 Feb 2021

Many of us may have made it through what could possibly be the worst year of our lives—2020. In keeping with this theme, it may well be appropriate to pay tribute to the lives of the Small Five’s star performer, the dung beetle. They spend their entire lives rolling dung uphill, living in it and fighting off pirate beetles that try to steal their hordes. We watched this dung beetle for ages and were humbled by its strength and tenaciousness. It made us think about our lives and although we are challenged on a daily basis, none of those challenges come close to the challenges that our wildlife continually faces.

You may be interested to watch the attached link, on a project to import scarab beetles into New Zealand. They imported cattle and sheep to the island in the 1800s. Unfortunately, like with many of our decisions as the “superior” species, this has put the natural world out of balance. New Zealand was not prepared for the massive quantities of dung produced by these imported animals. The result is that they have had to look to nature to try and assist in resolving their self-created predicament. Anyway, we found it very interesting. We, humans, have the ability to confuse things and to mess up the natural order of our beautiful and intricately woven together world… We far too often overlook the little guys in our ecosystem. This is particularly true when considering the critical importance of insects in the sustainability of our natural environment. I have also attached a link to a comedic YouTube video giving some of the basic facts about dung beetles. Please enjoy!

Photo and story: Malcolm Campbell