I am a geotrupes

I am a geotrupes

September 9, 2016

A 2016 post

Hallo hikers. The thing behind me is… dung. Stay calm, just a moment and I will explain. But I’m sure that many of you already know me and many others have noticed me. And indeed, we are quite a lot now !
I was talking of that with Filippo, who helps me writing.  He told me that when he was young he has been a collector of Coleoptera ! But I know that he is now sincerely repented, so forgiven. Well, he told me that he read of me on his Coleoptera books and have been searching for me for long time: but never found me. At that times cattle was disappearing from country side and wild animals were all gone.
We dung beetles eat that thing in the photograph. Without animals how could we do ? Hard times.
Filippo was so keen of finding me that he confused with me a colleague of mine, which name is Pentodon punctatus ! But he eats roots; at that time beets were still grown, also on the hills, and he is greedy of them. And not too much insecticides were used. So Pentodon  punctatus were a lot. I show him, in the picture here beside; he is wholly black however, without the metallic colours that I have.
But world change. Now they are far less, since they have less to eat. On the contrary, life is not that bad for us nowadays: with all these animals we are far from starvation. So see, things change, environment changes and we try to fit.

A busy and active geotrupes

And this guy instead is Pentodon punctatus

Every now and then some of you, hikers, is astonished seeing so many of us dead and others well alive. The thing we eat is very nutritious and our larvae grow fast. We, adults, fly a bit around, do our things, then die. So do some generation in a year. Only those of us that are about to be born when winter is in the air do not even thing of coming out until spring.  
About our food. Hope you are not disgusted. Consider, somebody write very positive words about us, since we are useful. I give you an example; unfortunately it is in Italian, but I will, try to explain. “Altri importanti elementi in grado di metabolizzare sterco sono alcune entità del genere Geotrupe (Geotrupes pyrenaeus e G. stercorarius)”. It more or less means “Other important elements able to metabolise shit are some entities of genus Geotrupes”. Well, thanks for appreciation, but it sounds a bit cold. What a language ! How do they mean “elements, entities ???” Bleah. And “metabolise shit”. This makes me almost sick with disgust.
But, however, at least with the name I cannot complain. You have read that Geotrupes means “the one making holes in the ground” ? Indeed we do that way: we drill holes in the soil and fill them with this thing we eat, to grow our children on it.

We are proudly clever: see the photo of this piece of dung: it is mostly done of tough material. Thing of the poor animal who ate it; imagine how much of this plant he had to eat to extract something nutritious; he could not digest almost anything ! But it is not raining since a while and we have to do with what we have; so, it is difficult also for us to find something good to eat to our children; and to slip those pieces of wood into our holes: what an extenuating labour !

But, I was saying, the name they gave us is not bad, after all. Consider that every now and then we meet some fiend of us who was named Caccobius… guess what this could mean. But names are given by parents, what to do: even bout you humans, we can hear amazing things.

And here happy geotrupes are banqueting and preparing their nests

Well, now I say you good bye and thanks to Filippo. By the way, few days ago, while he was eating outdoors, two of us swooped down on him… We saw well how he was puzzled and he smelled himself a bit… But there was an open tuna fish can around him and this was our real target… but do not tell him, he does not know; it was really amusing !

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