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"Rollin', Rollin', Rollin'..."

Dung beetles
Arno Meintjes [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0]
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Dung beetles

A listener spots some beetles rolling a ball of "something" down a sidewalk. What's going on?

Dung beetles are beetles that feed on feces. Some species of dung beetles can bury dung 250 times their own mass in one night. Many dung beetles, known as rollers, roll dung into round balls, which are used as a food source or breeding chambers. Others, known as tunnelers, bury the dung wherever they find it. A third group, the dwellers, neither roll nor burrow: they simply live in manure.

Rudy Mancke served as naturalist and co-host of South Carolina ETV's NatureScene, which began its long run in 1978. His field trips, broadcast nationwide, have earned him a legion of dedicated viewers. Rudy's knowledge of the complex inner-workings of different ecosystems and his great admiration for the natural world make him the perfect guide. In fact, the National Wildlife Federation and the Garden Club of America honored his commitment to resource conservation with special awards. Since retiring from SCETV, Rudy has gone on to teach at the University of South Carolina, Columbia.