A coprophagous organism is one that eats the faeces/excrement of another animal. Many insect species are coprophagous and often specialise in the consumption of faeces from large herbivores. Some of the most well-known coprophagous insects are the dung beetles.

Many species of dung beetle eat only faeces and are divided in to three categories based on their behaviour:

  1. tunnelers - beetles that tunnel underneath dung and pull the dung down below the surface of the soil.
  2. rollers - beetles that create balls of dung which they then roll away from the rest of the dung and use to provide a food source for their young in a brood chamber (usually underground).
  3. dwellers - beetles that live within the dung and do not bury or move it by rolling.

A photograph of dung beetles gathering on herbivore dung.

A photograph of dung beetles gathering on herbivore dung.
Photograph by Duwwel.

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