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Fascinating Finds: Spring Beetle Update

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Sustainable Agriculture

We are still receiving samples from farmers across the Wheatbelt of Dung Beetles to be mapped to see what seasonal patterns we have throughout the Wheatbelt. For those of you that came to see us at Dowerin Field day, you would have seen our display of the range of species

The following table shows the species that we might expect to see at different times of the year in our region. So far, we’ve found eight of the eleven possible introduced species, listed according to location below.

As spring progresses we are finding a transition of species from a winter dominant blanket of the Bubas bison to a more diverse summer active blanket, which includes species that fit into the Euoniticellus and Onthophagus Genus’.

In Ucarty, we have even found our first native beetle, Onthophagus Ferox!  This was an exciting find for us burgeoning beetle nerds as only a handful of the more than 400 dung beetles native to Australia will feed on domestic livestock dung.  It is thought that these species evolved from dinosaur dropping feeders.

Dr Jacob Berson, a research associate at the University of Western Australia, spoke about dung beetle research at our Talkin’ Soil Health Event. Jacob highlighted the importance of Dung beetles in our agricultural and environmental systems. He reiterated the importance of projects, much like our dung beetle highway project, in increasing awareness of the benefits of these soil micro-engineers.  

We are proud of the participants in our projects and the Wheatbelt community with their enthusiasm around the beetles, and look forward to working together to increase the diversity and numbers throughout the Wheatbelt. If you have any questions in regarding to beetle trapping or encouraging them onto your property, please get in contact with our team.

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 Published in Farming in Focus, December 2022