In the tunneling species, a female will excavate a tunnel directly beneath a dung pile and pull in some food. The female will then lay fertilized eggs into the little "brood balls" made out of the collected dung. Importantly, each egg has its own brood ball. In these species, males take a gob of poo from the dung pile, form it into a ball and roll it away.
A male will then go into the tunnel and stand guard, battling any other male that tries to get in with head-butts and shoves. In these species, males take a gob of poo from the dung pile, form it into a ball and roll it away. The female will then lay fertilized eggs into the little "brood balls" made out of the collected dung. But dung doesn't only provide sustenance for these insects; it also plays an integral part in their mating behaviors. In this region of the world, dung is generally best in the eyes of the beetles for a period of about six to eight weeks in the spring, Ridsdill-Smith said, adding that the breeding period of dung beetles is generally short. Dwellers take a lazier approach to reproduction than rollers and tunnelers, choosing to simply lay eggs in brood balls within or just below the fresh dung pile. There are thousands of known dung beetle species, and these creatures live on every continent except Antarctica. Though each continent has its own specific genera and species of dung beetles, the insects fill the same ecological roles and niches in each landmass, said James Ridsdill-Smith, an entomologist at the University of Western Australia. Generally, the male with the biggest body and largest horns becomes king of the tunnel and gets to mate with the female. The timing of when dung beetles mate varies between species and environments. November 30, While the male is pushing his prize to an ideal spot, he will have to fend off other males trying to steal his treasure and mate by pushing and even tossing them away. Importantly, each egg has its own brood ball. Interestingly, these males have substantially larger testicles for their size, allowing them to produce more sperm and increase their chances of becoming fathers, despite their physical weakness. In some cases, females will even stick around to look after their brood. If a female likes what she sees, she may hop on the dung ball and go for a ride. In either case, sex involves the male passing sperm packets to the female after inserting his sex organ, called an aedeagus, into the female's genital tract. Once at a good spot, the pair will then bury the dung ball into soft soil or, in some species, just leave it in a bed of vegetation , mate and lay an egg in the ball. Dung Beetles Dance on Poop Balls ] And in Australia, the temperature and moisture associated with rainfall also brings out the dung beetles, but whether or not they actually breed depends on the nutritional quality of the dung. Roller dung beetles don't dig tunnels. Some large species of dung beetles may only produce one or two offspring, while other species may produce dozens in a year. In the tunneling species, a female will excavate a tunnel directly beneath a dung pile and pull in some food. How the insects get down to business differs between the three types of dung beetles:
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