Australia has nearly 500 native dung beetle species and over 20 imported from Europe, Asia and Africa. Imported dung beetles were selected due to their abundance in climates like Australia’s. Some introduced beetles are now found over a broad geographic range and are effective at removing livestock dung from pastures, helping to control bush flies and internal parasites of livestock and returning nutrients to the soil. While most introduced species have successfully spread across their potential geographic range in the five decades since introductions began, other species have become established in only a small number of locations.
Join the DBEE project
For the first time, we now have the technology to simultaneously and continuously receive dung beetle reports from anywhere in Australia. MyDungBeetle Reporter is available on Google Play and from the App Store. MyDungBeetle Reporter gives everyone the opportunity to become citizen scientists by reporting their dung beetle finds via the app. All reports will be sent to Dung Beetle Ecosystem Engineers project experts across Australia who will attempt to determine the identity of the beetles sighted.
Reports can include up to four photos from the user’s camera or gallery along with their GPS coordinates. Our experts will attempt to identify your beetles and reply back to your device.
‘I have found the app to be a fantastic resource when monitoring dung beetles. It is very simple to use and by recording both the GPS location and photos from where a report is sent, we can start to build a picture of where different species of dung beetles are found, and in what abundances.’ Dr Jacob Berson, University of Western Australia.
Don’t we already know where dung beetles are?
Previous publications on the distribution of dung beetles have used a patchwork of grower reports and scientific surveys. This information was gathered from surveys conducted at different times using variable sampling techniques. In 2007, a report by Dr Penny Edwards found significant gaps in the distribution of some dung beetle species within their potential range. A key recommendation from this report was that an Australia-wide sampling be undertaken to provide additional information on where dung beetles are currently found and where gaps in distribution exist.
The information from MyDungBeetle Reporter will include data from the 120 surveillance sites around southern Australia monitored monthly by the DBEE team and project partners using pitfall traps. The data obtained will be used to identify gaps in dung beetle activity across southern Australia and where future dung beetle introductions may be most effective.
The DBEE website will also eventually have current regional maps available which indicate dung beetle distribution by species in each region. Exact locations of sightings noted in these reports will not be publicly available.
DBEE combined effort
The development of MyDungBeetle Reporter has been a major initiative of the Dung Beetle Ecosystem Engineers project.
The app is based on MyPestGuide Reporter, a tool developed by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) in Western Australia, and is the result of the efforts of DPIRD’s Rob Emery and app developer Nicolas Garel.
If you are not a smart phone user you can create reports online using the Reporter website. Just select the ‘Dung beetle survey’ from the drop-down menu under ‘Send report to:’