- Scarabaeus fossor Linnaeus, 1758
- Aphodius fossor (Linnaeus, 1758)
- Aphodius fossorius Gistel, 1857
No status defined
Value of species
A species of dung beetle native to the Palaearctic, but is also widespread in North America following accidental introduction and naturalisation during European settlement. Both adults and larvae are coprophagous, differentiating resource use by respectively feeding on the liquid and fibrous fractions of herbivore dung. It can be readily collected from the dung of livestock, and other large mammals. This species is known to support a number of key ecosystem services in cattle pastures.
Like other species within the genus Aphodius, this dung beetle is classified as an 'dwelling' or 'endocoprid' species, where in place of rolling dung balls-beetles feed and reproduces within the confines of mammalian dung. Adult beetles preferentially colonise older cattle dung, moving between several dung pats as adults. Eggs are laid singly beneath the dung crust and in the underlying soil. Adult beetles typically occur at low densities in mated pairs, and mate-finding and anti-aggregation are thought to be mediated by pheromones. Despite being found in open environments like pastures, Aphodius fossor is sensitive to desiccation and larvae experience significant mortality when highly exposed environments.