Tag Archives: astronomy

Dung Beetles: Celestial Navigators

31 Jan

by Russ McSpadden / Earth First! News

[The text of this work is free to share and distribute under the following Creative Commons License CC-BY-ND 3.0]

In a world where magic is endangered, the starry-eyed dung beetle is a beacon of hope. 

According to new research, these charming excrement-obsessed scarabs with brains no bigger than a grain of rice observe the stars—and more specifically, the Milky Way—to navigate through the night.

O yes, its with a map of the heavens that the dung beetle and its nourishing mierda make their way.

drawing by Rebecca Rankin

illustration by beck

“Dung is a precious resource for food,” says Eric Warrant, an Australian biologist who worked on the team that made the discovery, “and male beetles invest much energy and time in creating and rolling a ball that will be used by a female to lay her egg within.”

As you can imagine, its extremely important that male dung beetles roll that BM ball in the straightest possible path away from the pile—and other male beetles intent on pilfering their poo—to a secure burying location. After mating, that fecal booty will serve as breakfast, lunch and dinner for tiny and disgustingly adorable dung beetle babies. It’s a matter of sex, parenthood and survival. Continue reading