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Tumbling Tumblebugs

It’s oddly not hot here in southeastern Texas. It’s even odder that I would say it’s not hot. The temperature is running mid to upper 90’s every day. But in contrast to most of the country, that’s practically chilly.

We slid about 20 feet and started a second hole last week. We’ve been in the same spot for so long, home construction is beginning to take place on our front lawn. In all of the time I’ve been in Texas, I still haven’t seen a Tumbling Tumbleweed but we do have quite a number of Tumbling Tumblebugs.

They tumble on our pretend grass carpet. The above photo and the following facts are taken from an article by Howard Garret, The Dirt Doctor.

Tumblebugs roll manure into balls as large or larger than themselves. Female adults lay eggs in the balls and bury them to supply food for the larvae. Some adults dig burrows below the dung piles. Most dung beetles roll the dung in balls some distance from the piles.

It took this Tumblebug a little while to find its target to tumble.

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A single egg is laid in each dung ball. The larvae hatch and feed on the manure. The male helps in preparing the nest for the larvae. This is the only known case among insects where the male aids in providing for the young.

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You know, fathers just have a way of putting everything together. ~ Erika Cosby

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The dung beetles aren’t burying the poop as a favor to us and the cows. They are storing it for food and to provide a place for their eggs to hatch to be food for their larvae.

This completely dismantles the widely held theory of altruistic beetles. Ours got off to such a promising start and then got side tracked.

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The ancient Egyptians worshiped them. The “sacred scarab” can still be found in Egypt and surrounding countries. To the Egyptians, ball rolling symbolized the daily movement of the sun. The tomb of King (Tutankhamen) contained a pendant depicting the sun-god Ra as a scarab beetle rolling the sun across the sky. We don’t need to worship these lowly poop rollers, but they are magnificent creatures deserving of our respect.

Well, alrighty then…

Back to our Tumblebugs. This one came back but just couldn’t seem to quite hit it’s stride.

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I have a little garden That I’m cultivating lard in, As the things I eat are rather tough and dry: For I live on toasted lizards, Prickly pears, and parrot gizzards, And I’m really very fond of beetle-pie. ~ Charles Edward Carryl

Mr Carryl’s Robinson Crusoe would find no shortage of lizards and prickly pears here. He might have to substitute buzzards for parrots. As for the beetle pie, he’d do well to rememberΒ Minny and The Terrible Awful!

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20 thoughts on “Tumbling Tumblebugs

  1. So Scarab Beetles are actually “Dung Beetles? Who knew? It’s kind of nice to know they prefer playing with poop to eating humans alive! πŸ™‚

    • Sherrie –
      Glad this made you smile at such a sad time.
      Sad that this is such a sad time.
      Sending love and prayers tumbling your way,
      Debbie

  2. The voice in the background of my video was a Stallion serviceman trying to ‘educate’ me on what was happening. Everyone’s an expert. I think he saw a woman with a camera and thought ‘clueless white woman Yankee’ for sure!

  3. What a post! I am laughing and amazed all at the same time! And Sis Caddo’s comment left me gasping some more. So, I asked my resident bug lover what she thought about the little buggers. She liked them . ..but not what they were rolling. πŸ™‚ Loved the videos . .. did you tell him he could not just leave that there on your carpet? love and prayers!

    • Hey Deb!
      Heidi took the videos. By the time I got up it was raining and all the little beetles and balls had rolled on down the road.
      He was certainly a tenacious little guy – just slightly directionally challenged. πŸ˜‰
      Tell Aub that I’ll write a bug post soon – just for her!
      Debbie

    • Kit –
      No kidding, isn’t it amazing!?
      We’re set to move with this rig in another week or two and they’ve already brought in a truck load of gravel to build us a pad on the new site!
      We think we’ve died and gone to Gate Guard Heaven! πŸ˜€
      Debbie

  4. Poop-ball bugs–now this surely puts my week in uplifting perspective. Thank ya kindly, Debbie–God bless your good and loving heart!! (If you think I might scoop a poem outa this–unh, I don’t think so…) Love, your Caddo sis–forever anti-bugs

    • Oh Caddo. I agree!
      I think Mr Carryl came about as close as we want to get to a poem on this topic! πŸ˜‰
      I’m not keen on bugs in any variety, but we sure do have a variety down here, don’t we?
      I think some of them blow in from the PNW. πŸ˜€
      Perspective – yes, indeed.
      Debbie

  5. OK, BIG ‘crappy’ BUGS, first off. OH, you need to get to AK. Please tell me more (as i’ve already digressed) … Construction going up, really? A new subdivision perhaps?

    Those little daddy beetles are quite hard workers. I think the rocks really threw the last scenario into oblivion.

    I really appreciate food, must say. But kudos for daddy bug for being such a good provider of sh**. Melissa!!!!

    Love to you, my fine friend!

    • Hello Mel!
      Well, all of our worker bugs got washed down the road in the rain, so no more construction on our carpet at present!
      I’m hoping those aren’t the same beetles that keep getting in my shirt. I think the ones I wear are bigger. πŸ˜‰
      Debbie

  6. For Pete’s sake, just when I thought I’ve heard it all Texas beats all. Does this make our God amazing or just plain crazy. I know he has a sense of humor perhaps that’s it! LOL

    • Oh Chris –
      Never doubt that Texas is a place like no other…
      I think it makes God amazing with a very interesting sense of humor.
      Must have made some Science Fair Project for the kid who figured this one out! πŸ˜‰
      Debbie

  7. I have tumbleweeds in my house. They’re produced by the immense amount of fur our giant dog sheds. They blow across our tile floor just like tumbleweeds!

    • Vicky –
      Aren’t they a hoot!
      Heidi took the video while I was sleeping (I always miss all the excitement). πŸ˜€
      When I downloaded it, I thought it was an ant that had found a piece of Henry’s dog food.
      Nope! πŸ˜‰
      So kind of your pups to provide homes for the less fortunate!
      Debbie

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