British Dung Beetles

Beetles are insects in the Order Coleoptera. Dung beetles belong to the Superfamily Scarabaeoidea which also includes Chafers and Stag beetles.  In the UK there are 100 species in the Scarabaeoidea Superfamily and over half of these are dependent on dung. Download the DUMP general information sheet about British Dung beetles here. This double sided A5 flyer was produced with funding from a British Ecological Society Outreach Grant awarded to DUMP team member Ceri Watkins in 2016.

British dung beetles are divided into two Families – Geotrupidae and Scarabaeidae. The Geotrupidae include Geotrupes (Dor beetles) and Typhaeus, (the Minotaur beetle). Scarabaeidae includes Onthophagus and the aphodiines, the latter group represent the most numerous dung beetle in this country. The aphodiines used to be in one Genus Aphodius but recent changes in nomenclature (the naming system) mean that the Subgenera names have now been adopted. For example, in the diagram below we see Aphodius prodromus – this species becomes Melinopterus prodromus under the revised nomenclature.


The nomenclature (naming) system. Please note that in this instance, Subgenera names have now been adopted as Genera (see text above).


For further information, please see the Onthophagus, Geotrupidae and aphodiines pages. These can also be selected from the drop down menu on the left under the heading British Dung beetles.