Dung Beetle Balls

Douglas , WY
United States
Wyoming US

Here we have two ancient Egyptian scarabs admiring the casts of beetle brooding balls left by distant relatives some 30 million years ago. So what do these have to do with coprolites? I'm glad you asked! You see, modern dung beetles roll balls of dung collected from poo piles (usually from herbivores) into their burrows. They then lay an egg in each dung ball, which the beetle larva (grub) feeds on once it hatches (YUM-my). When the dung ball is consumed, the larva pupates, slowly transforming into an adult beetle. The beetle then breaks through the pupa and makes its way to the surface backfilling the chamber that once served as its nursery. Once reaching the surface, they search for a mate, poo pile and repeat.   I'm betting you are happy you weren't born a dung beetle right about now. 

These 11 dung beetle ball casts were among approximately 75 collected at a single location. They were collected on private land near Douglas, Wyoming, by Ralph Jewell in the mid 1990's.

Dung beetles (or scarabs) were revered by the ancient Egyptians. They were a symbol of rebirth.