Wednesday, 31 August 2011


A couple of days looking at habitat management for invertebrates last week focused on providing for their often complex life histories. Whilst poking around in cow dung, as you do, this chap, the Northern Dor Beetle or Dumbledor, Anoplotrupes stercorosus, trundled by. These dung beetles are usually to be seen carrying mites around their bodies and it is perhaps an easy assumption that these mites are parasites on the beetle. The truth, apparently, is far more complex. The beetle excavates a burrow and provisions it with fresh dung before laying eggs in the burrow. The beetle then leaves some mites behind, as they eat the growth of fungi that would make the dung mouldy and thus inedible for the developing beetle larvae. The beetle and the mite thus both benefit; a fine example of mutualism.

J K Rowling apparently chose the name of the Harry Potter character as it is the old English name for bumblebee and she imagined the "wizard humming to himself a lot". Dumbledor is also one of the common names for this splendid beetle, but I guess she didn't imagine him rolling around in shit.


jake nightingale said...


Great photographs throughout your blog!

Could you tell me what camera make and lenses you use, please?

And any tips you may have? I am interested in wildlife and photography and you seem to be an expert!

Thank you for any help you can give me.


Imperfect and tense said...

Just found your blog after a tip off from a Raspberry acquaintance, so enjoying working through your catalogue. Ta very much.

Bigging up a beetle and dissing Harry Potter in the same blog post. Can't complain about breadth of topic!

I've not got around to posting from last weekend yet, so feel that my dung beetle thunder has been somewhat stolen :o(

Grumpy Ecologist said...

Thanks Jake, but I'm no expert on photography. I just try to take it everywhere, get plenty of shots and hope. I have a Canon 60D with a 28-300 zoom and a 60 mm macro lens.

Dear Imperfect, surely there's never enough dung beetle blogs?

Imperfect and tense said...

Yo, Grumps, happy to oblige, plus a link to your informative article.

jake nightingale said...

Thanks for the info. Regrettably I would have to win the lottery to afford that kind of equipment. And I don't play.......

Kind regards