A new species of dung beetle rolling in Australia

A new dung beetle has been introduced in Australia as part of the Dung Korogashi Ecosystem Engineer (DBEE) project to manage cow dung in grazing areas of South Australia (SA).

The Gymnopleurus sturmi Dung beetle, native To MoroccoWas chosen to fill the gap where most dung beetles are inactive, living in SA-like habitats and climates from late winter to spring season.

“Dung Korogashi is an’expert in the field’.” Dr. Valerie Caron, Principal Investigator, said.. “There is no single species that is active in all regions over all seasons.”

Beetles also work in two different ways. Some species build tunnels to dispose of cow dung, while others use better rolling methods. Tunnel beetles create tunnels in the soil and bury feces. The roller, on the other hand, rolls into the ball before filling it.

Ground tunnels also pump air into the soil, infiltrating rainwater and promoting a healthy environment for microorganisms and earthworms.

G. sturmi is the third and last beetle introduced as part of the latest phase of the project and is different from the first two. Emma Koganebaka When Onthophagus andalusicus —It is a roller.

“When working together, both types of beetles disperse the dung faster and prevent flies from spawning,” Caron said, as the tunneler focused on the center of the cow pat and the rollers took the dung from the sides. Told.

Twenty-three new species of dung beetles have been gradually introduced into Australia to accommodate the changing climate and ecosystems of Australia. Since the 1960s As is known in the United States, cow dung is broken down and buried in vast cattle stations and ranches.

This is despite Australia having Over 500 native dung beetle species. However, native beetles cannot effectively break down manure because they work primarily with native marsupial feces. This is smaller and harder than cow dung.

One cow can produce up to 12 cows a day, which is important when multiplying the entire herd of cows.

Unburied cow dung also collects in pastures and becomes a breeding ground for buffalo flies, a pest that carries a variety of infectious diseases and a blood-sucking parasite that attaches to cattle skin and causes inflammation.

The DBEE project was carried out with the help of researchers from the Federal Institute for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIRO), and although the pandemic extended the waiting period, seeds were originally introduced for 2021.

According to Caron, the beetles will be mass-reared under a program led by Charles Sturt University, bred for over a year, and the new species will be released in the spring of 2023.

Marina Chan


Marina Chan is based in Melbourne and focuses on Australian news. Contact her at [email protected]