Dung Is Fun

If you would have told me a year ago that I would spend time digging around in poo looking for dung beetles, I would have said you’re mad. But here we are…

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During the first week of my traineeship I met up with Ceri Watkins who was just finishing her traineeship. While we were at Wytham Woods looking for dead wood associated beetles, she introduced me to dung beetles. I was a bit weirded out at first, as it is feels a bit weird grabbing handfuls of poo and sieving them. But seeing a glipse into the lives of these creatures got me hooked. I then went out with Ceri and Darren Mann (the god of dung beetles, and most other things really) to the New Forest to look for dung beetles, along with Lorna, another trainee. This was an amazing day which I will remember with fondness for years.

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Since then, when noone is looking and I have the time, I search for dung beetles. I didn’t find much this year and am yet to identify most of my finds, but I have enjoyed it. But why do it? Well many species of dung beetle are in decline and by recording them that we can help build up a picture of these declines and help conserve these species. The Dung Beetle UK Mapping Project (DUMP) has been set up which helps conserve these species through monitoring, education and research. Check out their website for more info and ID guides!

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One response to “Dung Is Fun

  1. Rummaging around in ordure is a curiously addictive pastime, I wonder if it chimes with memories of the lucky dip of former days. That moment of finding a species that looks unfamiliar and following the discovery by a bit of time trying to effect an identification working through the keys, and then logging the record. The satisfaction of building up a good record of species for one site over a period of time helps you to view a location with new eyes.
    Good luck with your discoveries.

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