Dung beetles and their role in the nature

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Scarabaeoid beetles (Scarabaeoidea) inhabit all zoogeographical regions of the world. However, coprophagy as the type of nutritional specialization dominates among the scarabaeoid beetles. The number of dung beetles (coprophagous Scarabaeoidea) is estimated at about 7,000 species. There are about 460 of dung beetles species in Europe, and about 90 of dung beetles species in Poland. Dung beetles can be endocoprids (dwellers), paracoprids (tunnelers) or telecoprids (rollers). Endocopric species lay eggs directly into the dung, paracropic species dig earth tunnels of various lengths ending with brooding chambers beneath the dung, and telecopric species separate a portion of dung and roll it into round balls which are then transported, sometimes far from the original source of the dung, to a place where the beetles dig tunnels ending with brooding chambers. Such a variety of methods of using faeces by dung beetles cause an accelerated circulation of nutrients, increased soil aeration, plant spreading, and a reduction in the number of parasites (flies and nematodes). Among dung beetles presently encountered in Poland there are endocopric and paracopric species.