Tuesday, April 13, 2010

My Husband is a Dung Beetle

Male beetle moving ball of  dung with his hind legs
First off, let me state for the record that I did not call him this.  At breakfast this morning, he told Mom and I that he is the dung beetle of the family.  While this is not a normal conversation in the majority of homes, it is really not a super surprising one for this group.  We obviously aren't normal anyway so let me try to explain this statement.

When we were camping last summer we came across a funny sight while hiking.  I was in the lead and had to stop as I saw something rather strange:  it looked like a little turd moving along the path in front of me.  Upon further investigation, we found that it was a dung beetle with a rolled up ball of poop.  He was rolling it uphill and in a very straight path - over pebbles, twigs, whatever.  He was a persistent little guy as the ball was about three times his size and it was very unwieldy.  We must have spent about fifteen minutes just watching as this amazing little creature kept to his task.  He was the epitome of the saying that "the impossible is possible if you keep at it".

Now, the reason Mr. MoonCat popped off with this little gem today is that he had done some reading on these fascinating little bugs.  We were talking this morning about how ants can carry many times their own weight and we told mom about seeing the little dung beetle at work.  Hubby's ENTIRE basis for saying that he is the dung beetle of OUR family is that the males are the ones who do all the work in dung beetle couples.  They usually roll up the ball of poop and move it to wherever the female designates while she directs or even HITCHES A RIDE while he's working! 

Mr. DungBeetle moving poop while being directed by Mrs. DungBeetle
If this hadn't hit me as so funny, I might think about being offended, but I chose to laugh my butt off at him.  (It's especially significant today as I "requested" that he move around a bunch of furniture yesterday..)

I did some reading myself on dung beetles and was really amazed to learn how beneficial they are to agriculture.  They can be found on every continent except for Antartica!  I had already known (from my dad) not to kill any that we found out in the manure pile at the ranch but really didn't know why.  I've learned that they help keep down the fly population and thus the spread of disease in livestock because they make the manure inhospitable to the fly larvae and maggots.  Learn More Here about them and how dung beetles are a very beneficial part of managing and sustaining pastureland. 

I hope you enjoyed yet another insight into the not so ordinary happenings (and conversations) here at MoonCat Farms.  And just for the record, I did NOT hitch a ride on his back while he was moving furniture - I directed. 

photos courtesy of http://www.wikipedia.org/


  1. ooooh, please take a picture of Mr. Mooncat-dungbeetle, carrying you Mrs. Mooncat-dungbeetle piggy back!! LMAO :)

    thanks for the little tidbit...I would say that people with chickens, horses or other livestock should order a small batch of these critters.

    PS...I do not see the award I gave you :(

  2. Susan,

    It's the beetles that can carry 3 times their weight, not poor Mr. MoonCat!! haha

    I don't think a person could order these little worker bugs. It sounds like they're everywhere, we just don't usually see a lot of them.

    (I haven't posted my award posts yet. Sorry for the delay - my brain is in slow gear)

  3. That's one of the funniest posts I've read tonight! Loved the info... about both the bug and you! LOL

    Kisses from Nydia.

  4. Thanks Nydia. My Aunt and others have started calling him "The Beetle" now.


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