Beetles with benefits

The project is expanding the range of dung beetles in Australia and analysing their performance for livestock producers

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About the project

They may be small but dung beetles can provide some big ecosystem benefits on-farm. The Dung Beetle Ecosystem Engineers (DBEE) project aims to fill in the gaps in the distribution of beetles in southern Australia by introducing new species.

It will also build on previous research to:

  • expand the distribution of existing species

  • develop a supply and distribution pipeline so more livestock producers can access beetles

The national research project will also quantify the ecosystem services and economic benefits provided by dung beetles. 

The dung beetle project is expected to provide significant benefits to livestock producers, with aims to:

01. Improve soil in grazing systems

02. Reduce the spread of diseases and insect pests, such as bush flies

03. Increase pasture health

04. Reduce nutrient run-off into waterways


Get involved


The Dung Beetle Ecosystem Engineers Project would like to hear from landholders about your experiences with dung beetles. Are you interested in filling a seasonal ‘gap’ in dung beetle activity on your farm? Do numbers seem to be down as a result of any recent events such as sustained drought or previous flooding?

citizen scientists

Several levels of beetle activity monitoring will be run by DBEE. While the intensive monitoring is being managed by us we welcome input from groups wishing to be involved in less intensive monitoring. Data from across Australia will be a huge benefit to the DBEE project and allow us to get a big picture of dung beetle activity. If you would like more information on how your group or school might get involved please contact us.

beetle rearing

The dung beetle rearing and distribution team are especially keen to work with anyone interested in discussing the possible development of commercial rearing of beetles.

Email DBEE at if you would like to get in touch with our team.


Report your observations

MyDungBeetle Reporter lets you quickly and easily report your observations to Dung Beetle Ecosystem Engineers project experts across Australia. Anyone can help map dung beetle distributions by using their phone to make reports with up to four photos from their camera or gallery, and GPS location of the sighting. Our experts will attempt to identify your beetles and reply back to your device.


App Store (iOS devices) | Google Play (Android devices)


Share your story

Have you got dung beetles on your property?

we’d love to hear from you

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Project partners

This project is supported by Meat & Livestock Australia, through funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture as part of its Rural R&D for Profit program.

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