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Nature imitating life

August 10, 2015

Several beef farmers in our district are using dung beetles to increase the productivity of their pastures. Adult dung beetles do this by eating cow dung and releasing nutrients into the soil. The beetles also transport manure underground to breeding chambers where they lay their eggs in the dung and the larvae can feed on it when hatched.

Australia has several hundred native species of dung beetle. Unsurprisingly very few can deal with the high moisture content of cow manure, preferring instead the low-moisture kangaroo poo. The beetles used for agriculture purposes are species from Europe or Africa.

At a recent Strath Creek Landcare Group planting event a local dung beetle enthusiast was on hands and knees examining every cow pat in the paddock for the beetles. We did not see any beetles but saw lots of evidence of where they had been doing their job. Obviously there are viable colonies of dung beetles in our valley now.

One thing we did notice was this field cricket sitting on one of the cow pats. It was a serendipitous sighting as crickets are known to eat lots of things but manure is not one of them.
I title this photo Australian cricket in the shit. Somehow it smacks of nature imitating life.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Susan permalink
    August 10, 2015 12:33 pm

    Very funny! Your humour relating ‘nature imitating life’ is bountiful! a good one for facebook!

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