The Dung Beetle What a Marvelous Creature
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The Dung Beetle, What a Marvelous Creature.
It took me many hours of thinking back to my past to figure out who or what I was going to
make a tribute speech over. Then I thought back to my childhood to what I enjoyed doing the
most. I remember the great times I had with my mother, and how she would always get me the
package of candy I would ask for when we went shopping. My mother would make a good tribute
speech I thought to myself, but then I thought of the few times I was out in my grandfather’s
pasture, and how I would see a little bug rolling dung. The Dung beetle, what a marvelous creature.
Now, you may be wondering why I have chosen this topic for a tribute speech, or maybe why I
would even consider talking about it at all, but do you realize what an important role these beetles
play all around the world.
I remember several days when I was young that I would just go for a walk in my
grandfather’s pasture. I would enjoy the quiet walks, and sometimes try to scare the cows, but
more often than not, I would end up stopping to watch dung beetles frantically work on a big cow
pat. I remember how disgusting it appeared, but I was just fascinated at the concept of cow poop
being rolled into balls and taken away by bugs. To realize why dung beetles are so important, you
must first know a few facts about them. Dung beetles are named after their delight in rolling up
dung. Dung beetles utilize the dung of cows, horses, rabbits, deer, sheep, and many other
animals. How many of you think dung beetles actually eat manure? The answer is yes. Dung
beetles just love fresh dung. They shove the dung into their mouths, squeeze it, and drink the
juices that come streaming out! The solid parts of the dung are squeezed for a second time in their
jaws, and then swallowed. If there are any eggs that flies might have laid inside the dung, this
squeezing action kills them. Now, before you say "Gross!" think about this: There are millions of
animals on this planet, and they all produce waste. People take care of the problem through
complicated sanitation systems. But in nature, the waste from all the animals has to decompose.
Dung beetles help speed up the process. There are more than 20,000 different kinds of dung
beetles. They may feed on plants, dead animals and manure. Dung, along with everything else that
lives in it, is the major food of the dung beetle. In fact African dung beetles head for hot steaming
cow pats even before they hit the ground. They are attracted by the gas coming out of the back end
of the cow. Within minutes or even seconds, the beetles are already burrowing into the warm dung.
Within hours, or at the very most, a few days, the cow pat has vanished. All that is left is freshly
turned-over soil. Scientists have counted more than 7,000 dung beetles in a single mass of fresh
elephant dung. The importance of dung beetles cannot be overestimated. Every cow produces 7
tons of dung a year (imagine the amount of space this would take up if it was left to build up and
fester!) and yet this dung is rapidly removed by dung beetles and the grassy fields are soon left free
I hope that you have leaned why the dung beetle should be respected, and given tribute
more often. Not only do dung beetles play a vital role in breaking down dung and incorporating it
into the soil, but they also provide a great form of childhood entertainment.
(To add to the effect, pass out some Buterfinger BB's or some malt balls before you gie the speech.)
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Feces, Scarabaeidae, Animal physiology, Scarabaeinae, Dung beetle, Cow dung, Beetle, Manure, Australian Dung Beetle Project
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