Digging those dung beetles
Posted on 21 July, 2020 by Ivan
The dung beetle is one of the natural world’s wonders and the role of this hard-working insect is rarely recognised. We occasionally see dung beetles moving copious amounts of dung when out in the field, but rarely have time to stop and ponder their importance in ecosystem function and soil productivity. Thankfully, there is an expert who has devoted his life to Dung Beetles – Dr Bernard Doube – who recently delivered a presentation on behalf of the North Central Catchment Management Authority.
Dr Doube works for Dung Beetle Solutions International and delivered the presentation to bring us up to date with dung beetle species, the history of introduction to Australia and the benefits to agriculture. This presentation was delivered in June 2020 with the support of Landcare Victoria and North Central Catchment Management Authority.
Dr Doube is an international expert on dung beetles, earthworms and the biological basis of soil health. He worked with CSIRO for 29 years and was in charge of the CSIRO Dung Beetle Research Unit in Pretoria, South Africa, for seven years. He has published many research articles on dung beetles, earthworms and the biological basis of soil health. He has conducted grant-funded research since 2003 in association with many research partners, including water authorities, federal agencies, universities, Landcare and other landholder groups.
Australia has more than 500 species of native dung beetles and 23 species introduced from Hawaii, Africa and southern Europe. The introduced dung beetles are useful in Australia’s agricultural regions because our native dung beetles evolved with marsupials and are not adapted to use and disperse cattle dung.
Sometimes referred to as ‘nature’s architects’, dung beetles are part of a healthy agricultural landscape and can significantly improve the overall health of your soil. They benefit your property by breaking down organic material, transporting nutrients from the surface to the subsoil, improving water infiltration and reducing runoff.
It has also been concluded that dung beetles also reduce flies and odours by physically removing dung from the soil surface. This also helps to control dung-borne parasites. To learn more about dung beetles – click here
Please enjoy the presentation below, delivered by Dr Doube.