Have you ever come across a dung beetle and wondered which species it might be? The Dung Beetle Ecosystem Engineers (DBEE) project has produced some resources that might be of assistance!
“A Pocket Guide to Introduced Dung Beetles in Australia” is a handy little book that fits in your pocket and can withstand the rigours of field use. This little book is full of information on the dung beetles that have been released by CSIRO over the past 50 years and have become established in much of the livestock production areas in the country. Each species has a page of information and photos that will aid in identification; included are a size index, daily activity times and seasonal activity. The species are arranged from smallest to largest in the book, and an actual size indicator on each page will help deciding if your specimen matches the known size range for each species. There is also a pictorial key at the back of the book that will help you step through a systematic process to identify your specimen. And because there are native dung beetles that might be encountered in livestock dung, two pages are devoted to the more common natives that might cause confusion. This publication will be available soon at no cost to all participants in the DBEE project.
The information in the ID guide is also available on the DBEE website (https://www.dungbeetles.com.au/species). Clicking on the species of interest will bring up a page of information mirroring what’s in the ID guide, and in addition, a map will appear showing where each species has been found historically and where that species has been reported through the DBEE monitoring program. You can also display a list of species that have been reported in your area (organised by Natural Resource Management areas).
If you find a dung beetle and are having trouble identifying it, you might consider sending us some photos via the MyDungBeetleReporter app, a free download for iPhone or Android smartphones. Although the app was developed mainly as a tool for recording trap information for the DBEE monitoring program, it can also be used to upload photos of beetles you find and need help identifying. If the photos are of suitable quality, a member of our team will respond with a tentative identification of your specimen.
Currently under development are a series of ID guides tailored to geographic regions of Australia. Each guide will include a list of species found in the region, tips to assist with dung beetle identification and detailed information about the biology of each species. Keep your eyes open for these helpful little guides!