Many dung beetles, known as rollers, roll dung into round balls, which are used as a food source or breeding chambers. Others, known as tunnelers, bury the dung wherever they find it. A third group, the dwellers, neither roll nor burrow: they simply live in manure. They are often attracted by the dung collected by burrowing owls. There are dung beetle species of different colours and sizes, and some functional traits such as body mass (or biomass) and leg length can have high levels of variability.
The nocturnal African dung beetle Scarabaeus satyrus is the only known non-human animal to navigate and orient itself using the Milky Way.
Dung beetles live in many habitats, including desert, grasslands and savannas, farmlands, and native and planted forests and commonly found on Sibuya Game Reserve. They are highly influenced by the environmental context, and do not prefer extremely cold or dry weather. They are found on all continents except Antarctica.
Dung beetles play a remarkable role in agriculture and tropical forests. By burying and consuming dung, they improve nutrient recycling and soil structure. They are also important for the dispersal of seeds present in animals’ dung, influencing seed burial and seedling recruitment in tropical forests.