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:
- tunnelers - beetles that tunnel underneath dung and pull the dung down below the surface of the soil.
- 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).
- 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.
Photograph by Duwwel.
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