I was hiking around in my favorite place yesterday. (That’s Myakka River State Park for those who are infrequent readers of my blog. ) I was heading down All-Weather Rd. at a fairly good clip, intent on getting to a trail that I had not visited in some time. I’m not sure why I looked down but perhaps the angel on the shoulder of this Rainbow Scarab Dung Beetle cried out because my big right foot was heading right towards him. He would have been a goner and I would have been the one who was truly crushed to have injured or killed such an incredible creature.
The Rainbow Scarab Dung Beetle is very aptly named. He does seem to have all the colors of the rainbow on him. He is certainly a scarab (the big horn and bright colors confirm that). And that is a big piece of dung that he is pushing around.
I quickly dropped my gear and got down to eye level with this critter. Have you ever seen such a thing? He certainly is the best dressed garbage collector I’ve ever seen. Dung beetles collect what most of us consider disgusting — excrement. They serve us all by collecting and using the dung of animals for food and as a repository for their eggs. In other words, they help make the dung go away. This one was a roller and I read that dung beetles can roll up to 10 times their weight. Other dung beetles pull their bounty and some are capable of pulling 1,141 times their own body weight: the equivalent of an average person pulling six double-decker buses full of people! What a creature! Humans have long been captivated by them. At least that’s what the reference sources say. There are even beetle dung derbies!
So, that’s what was happening at Myakka yesterday. Creatures going about their business, never realizing just how fantastic they are and never getting even a nod of recognition from most of us. So, I want everyone who reads this to look at this final dung beetle picture and say, with sincerity, “Thanks for cleaning up the s#!t.” You’ll feel better for having done so. 😉 ❧