How to tell if your beetle is a dung beetle
To determine if your insect is a beetle, go to the Key to Insect Orders at the www.lucidcentral.org website.
Dung Beetles belong to the family Scarabaeidae, subfamily Scarabaeinae.
For your beetle to be a dung beetle, it must have all of the characteristics listed below.
Beetles belonging to the family Scarabaeidae are:
Usually stout bodied beetles of moderate to large size, with:
* labrum and mandibles not distinguishable from above (concealed by clypeus) (Fig 1);
* lamellate antennal club present and antenna with less than 11 segments;
*first visible abdominal segment split into two lateral triangular portions
* fossorial legs, at least the front tibiae with strong teeth on the outer margin.
Beetles belonging to the Subfamily Scarabaeinae are:
Ovate or barrel-shaped beetles, mainly black or brown in colour, with:
* abdominal spiracles not visible when the elytra are closed;
* the elytra usually leaving pygidium exposed;
* hind tibiae with a single apical spur;
* labrum and mandibles not distinguishable from below (concealed by maxillae and labium)
* semi-circular head with clypeus fused to frons;
* antennae with 8-9 segments;
* mid coxae longitudinal or slightly convergent and separated by more than their width;
* usually conspicuous sexual dimorphism, with head and/or pronotal armature or modified legs in the male.
There is one dung beetle genus, Demarziella, that superficially resembles the beetles from a different subfamily, the Aphodiinae.
In this case it is particularly important to check that all the characters listed above are present.