Why did no one tell me that Minnesota has dung beetles?!

I was scrolling through a Facebook group I'm part of (Minnesota Naturalists) and a video of a dung beetle spotted in our state threw me for a loop. I was under the impression that dung beetles only existed in Africa.

Apparently I'm not the only one who thought that way, because the person who posted the video, Sandra, said:

I just learned that Minnesota has Dung Beetles! Video taken by my daughter on her hike yesterday outside of Backus MN. Roll your poop little scarab, roll!

Turns out variations of dung beetles are pretty common in North America. MinnesotaSeasons.com reported the small aphodine dung beetle is native to Europe, Asia, and Northern Africa and it was introduced into and is now widespread in North America.

They thrive on cattle dung and are most commonly found in pastures, for obvious reasons. This time of year (June/July) larvae are hatched underground and emerge in August and September, shortly before going into hibernation in October.

Minnesota's dung beetles seem to be smaller than the ones I picture in my head. I.E. the animated dung beetle from Disney's The Lion King. Minnesota dung beetles average length is about a quarter inch. Compared to the ones most commonly found in Africa that are about 1.5 inches.

These insects are actually really helpful, often referred to as "nature's clean up crew". They actually naturally suppress E. coli and other harmful pathogens before spreading to humans.

I guess Minnesota is lucky to have these hard little workers. You learn something new every day!

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