Dung Beetles in Nottinghamshire
Dung Beetles are a large and well known group of beetles belonging to the Scarabaeidae family, a group which includes the well known Cockchafer. Whilst the Cockchafer is a large, chestnut brown species, the Aphodius Dung Beetles are much smaller and in many cases, a great deal more colourful. Like their common name implies, they frequent cattle and horse dung and where this is found, so too are Dung Beetles.

As with many beetles, the Aphodius group are quite difficult to identify to species level (particularly at first) but the medium that they are found in, is probably the most off-putting from many naturalists point of view.

This page shows the Aphodius species which we have so far encountered at Penny Pasture Common and Tug Bridge Farm at Eakring, at Hills and Holes SSSI at Market Warsop and at Sherwood Forest.

Dung Beetles play an important role in assisting the decomposition of cattle and horse dung, perhaps reducing the actual decomposition time by 50%. Studies have shown that different Aphodius species enter dung at different times or stages in decomposition. Our own searches at the sites mentioned above, suggest that the first to arrive, do so after about 24 hours, seemingly entering the dung from underneath. Throughout the year, a variety of Aphodius species can be found in dung, but only those species which we have found since July 2008 are depicted here.

Aphodius species in Nottinghamshire

Nottinghamshire should have a wide range of common species. Three nationally notable (Nb) species which are known to occur in Nottinghamshire are Aphodius distinctus, Aphodius paykulli and Aphodius porcus. Historically, Carr's book 'The Invertebrate Fauna of Nottinghamshire' lists the following species...

A. depressus; A. luridus; A. rufipes; A. ater; A. constans; A. rufus; A. sordidus; A. fimetarius; A. pedellus; A foetens; A. foetidus; A. granarius; A.erraticus; A. merdarius; A. pusillus; A. subterraneus; A. prodromus; A. sphacelatus; A. contaminatus; A. haemorrhoidalis; A. quadrimaculatus; A. porcus; A. fossor and A. sticticus.

Aphodius ater (De Geer, 1774)
  Aphodius contaminatus (Herbst, 1783)
Clipstone Old Quarter, April 2009. Length 6mm.   Budby South Forest, September 2008. Length 6.5mm.
Aphodius depressus (Kugelann, 1792)
  Aphodius distinctus (Müller, O.F., 1776)
Sherwood Forest CP, August 2008. Length 6.5mm.   Budby South Forest, September 2008. Length 4.5mm.
Aphodius foetens (Fabricius, 1787)
  Aphodius foetidus (Herbst, 1783)
Clipstone Old Quarter, July 2008. Length 7mm.   Tug Bridge Farm, Eakring, September 2008. Length 5mm.
Aphodius fossor (Linnaeus, 1758)
  Aphodius granarius (Linnaeus, 1767)
Eakring Meadows NR, August 2008. Length 12mm.   Tug Bridge Farm, near Eakring, April 2009. Length 4mm.
Aphodius haemorrhoidalis (Linnaeus, 1758)
  Aphodius luridus (Fabricius, 1775)
Sherwood Forest CP, May 2009. Length 4mm.   Clipstone Old Quarter, April 2009. Length 8mm.
Aphodius paykulli (Bedel, 1907)
  Aphodius pedellus (De Geer, 1773)
Budby South Forest, April 2013. Length 6mm.   Tug Bridge Farm, Eakring, August 2008. Length 7.5mm.
Aphodius prodromus (Brahm, 1790)
  Aphodius rufipes (Linnaeus, 1758)
Budby South Forest, September 2008. Length 6mm.   Sherwood Forest CP, July 2008. Length 9mm.
Aphodius rufus (Moll, 1782)
  Aphodius sphacelatus (Panzer, 1798)
Sherwood Forest CP, July 2008. Length 5mm.   Nettleworth Manor March 2009. Length 5.5mm.
Aphodius sticticus (Panzer, 1798)
Clipstone Old Quarter May 2013. Length 5.0mm.    
Beetle Photo Gallery - Thumbnail version
Beetle Photo Gallery - Text version