Onthophagus depressus Click to enlarge image
Flat African Dung Beetle, Onthophagus depressus Image: Andrew Donnelly
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    depressus
    Genus
    Onthophagus
    Subfamily
    Scarabaeinae
    Family
    Scarabaeidae
    Super Family
    Scarabaeoidea
    Order
    Coleoptera
    Class
    Insecta
    Subphylum
    Uniramia
    Phylum
    Arthopoda
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Number of Species
    400
  • Size Range
    7 mm - 9 mm

Dung beetles are a diverse group of beetles. There are about 400 species in the family Scarabaeidae in Australia alone.

Habitat

The Flat African Dung-beetle lives in urban areas, forests and woodlands.

Distribution

The Flat African Dung-beetle is found in south-eastern Australia.

Feeding and diet

Most dung-beetles share the habit of feeding on the dung of mammals.

Other behaviours and adaptations

In most cases, the dung is broken up and buried in nests in the soil for their larvae. The Flat African Dung Beetle was accidentally introduced to Australia, probably with farm stock. It is now common in urban areas where it feeds on dog and even human dung. It has been released in large numbers by some councils to help with the control of dog faeces in public places. Other species remove cow dung from pastures, which helps to control the numbers of bush flies in summer.