Dung Beetle: Rainbow Scarab

Subject: Beetle Identification
Location: St Augustine, Florida
June 18, 2012 8:56 am
A friend & I were talking when, what appeared to be a large bumble bee, came flying and hovered over the grass in an aread where her dog had just defecated. It landed on the stool and proceeded to break it apart and drag it down into the grass. The beetle was approx. 1 1/4 inches long by 1/2 inch wide and had a black shell behind bulbous silver eyes. The rear had irridescent wings and, I believe, 6 legs. I couldn’t get any real good shots of it because it moved pretty fast and all I had handy was my cell phone which only takes 5mp photos. Can you identify it from such a small amount of information?
Signature: Ray Larsen

Rainbow Scarab and Dung Ball

Hi Ray,
We are very happy to post your photos of a female Rainbow Scarab,
 Phanaeus vindex, forming a dung ball.  Rainbow Scarabs are Dung Beetles, a group found in many parts of the world.  They are especially common in agricultural communities with livestock populations.  Ancient Egyptians observed Dung Beetles rolling a ball of dung and likened the image to the sun, resulting in much Scarab iconography.  Dung Beetles perform an important function of keeping their environment from filling with dung, facilitating the decomposition process.  Once the beetle has a large enough ball of dung, it will be buried and an egg laid on it.  The dung is food for the developing larva.  Some species of Dung Beetles work as a pair to collect the dung, so occasionally two beetles will be seen rolling a ball.  The male Rainbow Scarab has a large horn and is an altogether attractive beetle.

Rainbow Scarab with Dung Ball


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