06 January 2009

Metallic green dung beetle on a winter day

GeotrupesSplendidus

This beetle was brought out by the rather warm temperatures (almost 20 °C/68 °F) we had back on 28 December (last year). Now, what's wrong with the last sentence? The temperature can be low or high, but there is no such thing as a warm, hot or cold temperature. Temperature is a measure of the average kinetic energy of the molecules making up the air or any other substance and so it can't be associated with a feeling such as warmth or cold.

After that digression, we return to the beetle in the photo, which has been identified by the good folks at BugGuide.net as Geotrupes splendidus, a dung beetle. In The Common Insects of North America, Swan and Papp (1972) write:
It constructs brood cells of cow dung; in the Southeast egg laying takes place in January, pupation in May.
There were no cows where I found this individual. It obviously uses the dung of other animals and appears to be active on warm days during the winter even in Maryland.

2 comments:

beetlesinthebush said...

There are several species in this genus in the eastern U.S. Similar to your experience, I've found them primarily on mild winter days - but I actually look for the critters by stirring through horse poop (with a stick) that I encounter on hiking trails. Their beauty is suitably ironic given their disgusting haunts.
regards--ted

AYDIN ÖRSTAN said...

Thanks for the tip. I may try it.