Aphodius Dung Beetles in Nottinghamshire
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Dung Beetle is a somewhat generalised term for those species making up the large and varied Scarabaeidae Family, that also includes Chafers. Among some of the Family's better known examples are the Dor Beetle (Geotrupes stercorarius) and the equally impressive Cockchafer (Melolontha melolontha).
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Whilst the Dor Beetle and Cockchafer are both at the larger end of the Scarabaeidae size-scale, Aphodius Dung Beetles are much smaller and in many cases, much more colourful.

As their common name implies, they generally frequent cattle and horse dung and where this is found, so too are Dung Beetles .... and very often by the thousands. They are common flyers and regularly seen taking to the air on the first warm days of Spring, or on similarly warm days in the Autumn.

Most Aphodius beetles 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.

As disconcerting their choice of habitat might appear to be, it should be noted that Dung Beetles play a vitaly important role in assisting the decomposition of cattle and horse dung, perhaps reducing the actual decomposition time by 50%.

 
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Studies have shown that different Aphodius species enter dung at different times or stages in decomposition. Our own casual observations 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 Dung Beetles in Nottinghamshire

Nottinghamshire currently has a wide ranging list of the (typically) commoner Aphodius species, but there remains plenty of scope for several new additions. Three nationally notable (Nb) Aphodius 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.

Species shown with a red asterisk*, are believed known from historical records only

     
APHODIUS Hellwig, 1798
Aphodius ater (De Geer, 1774)
Aphodius borealis (Gyllenhal, 1827)
Aphodius constans (Duftschmid, 1805) *
Aphodius contaminatus (Herbst, 1783)
Aphodius depressus (Kugelann, 1792)
Aphodius distinctus (Müller, O.F., 1776)
Aphodius erraticus (Linnaeus, 1758) *
Aphodius fimetarius (Linnaeus, 1758)
Aphodius foetens (Fabricius, 1787)
Aphodius foetidus (Herbst, 1783)
Aphodius fossor (Linnaeus, 1758)
Aphodius granarius (Linnaeus, 1767)
Aphodius haemorrhoidalis (Linnaeus, 1758)
Aphodius luridus (Linnaeus, 1775)
Aphodius merdarius (Fabricius, 1775) *
Aphodius paykulli (Bedel, 1907)
Aphodius pedellus (De Geer, 1773)
Aphodius plagiatus
Aphodius porcus (Fabricius, 1792) *
Aphodius prodromus (Brahm, 1790)
Aphodius pusillus (Herbst, 1789) *
Aphodius rufipes (Linnaeus, 1758)
Aphodius rufus (Moll, 1782)
Aphodius sphacelatus (Panzer, 1798)
Aphodius sticticus (Panzer, 1798)
Aphodius subterraneus (Linnaeus, 1758) *
 
 
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 sticticus (Panzer, 1798)
Sherwood Forest CP, July 2008. Length 5mm.   Clipstone Old Quarter May 2013. Length 5.0mm.
 
     
     
 
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