The Geotrupidae family is composed of eight species which are divided into five Genera. These are Anoplotrupes, Geotrupes, Odonteus, Trypocopris and Typhaeus. Download the DUMP Geotrupidae identification guide here. This guide has been produced with funding from a British Ecological Society grant awarded to DUMP team member Ceri Watkins in 2016.

All members of the Geotrupidae excavate vertical burrows in which the eggs are laid, earning them the common name of earth boring dung beetles. They are also referred to as Dor beetles. Many species produce a noise by rubbing the upper section of the hind legs together, this is called stridulation and it is used in mating communication or sometimes as a defence mechanism. The Geotrupidae beetles are often attracted to light during the hours of darkness and as a result are sometimes caught in light traps used by moth recorders.

Anoplotrupes stercorosus


This Dor beetle is particularly found in woodlands but may also be present in open habitats such as grasslands and heathlands.

Size: 12-19mm.


Geotrupes mutator


This species is similar to G. spiniger and G. stercorarius but it has nine striae or lines running down the length of each wing case whereas the others have only seven.

Size: 15-25mm.


Geotrupes spiniger


This species is slightly duller than the others and is commonly found on grazed pastures and moorlands across Britain. The central section of the abdominal segments on the underside is bare or very sparsely haired.

Size: 16-26mm.


Geotrupes stercorarius


This species is found on grazed pastures and moorlands throughout Britain but is more shiny than G. spiniger. The abdominal segments on the underside are covered with hairs.

Size: 16-26mm.


Odonteus armiger

The male of this species has a long horn extending backwards from the front of its head. It is usually found on calcareous grassland and heathland in southern England and Wales. This beetle feeds on underground fungi and is sometimes caught in light traps on warm summer days.

Size: 8-11mm.


Trypocopris pyrenaeus

This species is mainly found in southern England in the counties of Surrey, Hampshire and Dorset.The wing cases are very shiny and quite smooth in appearance and lack any obvious striae. The pronotum has sparse puncture marks.

Size: 16-26mm.


Trypocopris vernalis


This beetle is found on moorlands and upland grasslands with dry, sandy soils throughout Britain. The wing cases are quite smooth in appearance and lack any obvious striae. The pronotum is more densely punctured than T. pyrenaeus. The metallic sheen of this species is quite variable and can range in colour from blue to green to pink.

Size: 12-20mm.


Typhaeus typhoeus

Typhaeus typhoeus_FemaleTyphaeus typhoeus_Male

The male Minotaur beetle is unmistakable with two long forward pointing horns and a smaller central horn. The female has two distinctive points on the pronotum in the same place as the long horns of the male. Females can be confused with other Geotrupidae but the underside of the abdomen is all black whereas the other Geotrupidae of a similar size are metallic purple or blue.

Size: 12-20mm.