Geotrupes spiniger

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Three photos of large male Geotrupes spiniger dung beetles with metallic blue underside. Arrows point to black pronotum, often displaying metallic blue edges; small tubercle (present in both males and females) and 3rd tibial tooth on males is longer than others and points slightly back. Top surface is shiny black. Metallic blue underside. Scale showing 5 mm. Beetle around 25mmThree photos of large female Geotrupes spiniger dung beetles with metalic blue underside. Arrows points to: tubercle and 3rd tibial tooth short on females (compare to males). Top surface is shiny black and metallic blue underside. Scale shows 5 mm.

Size

20–25mm

Colour

Shiny black with metallic blue/purple underside (good identifier)

Horns

None

Minor males/females

N/A

Flight time

Dawn and dusk

Active seasons

Early spring to early winter

Distribution in Australia

Tasmania, Victoria, south-east and north-east NSW

Map showing presence of Geotrupes spiniger in NSW, eastern Vic and Tasmania

Origin

South-west Europe (including southern England)

South West Prime Lamb Group (SWPLG) demonstrations

G. spiniger was trapped once at Cashmore in February (2021) and also found near Hamilton, attracted to house lights May (2020). It had not been previously been recorded as occurring in the Glenelg Hopkins region.

Lifecycle

G. spiniger beetles live for four to six months and have one to two generations each year.

Dung burial

Buries dung to around 30–45cm. G. spiniger is one of the four deep tunnelling dung beetles found in southern Australia. The others include Bubas bison, Onitis caffer and Copris hispanus. G. spiniger was used in trials by the Lucyvale Landcare group in north-east Victoria to demonstrate improvements to soil health and fertility. In their unpublished results, the group measured changes to depth in phosphorus, sulphur, iron, zinc, boron and aluminium and an increase in the abundance of earthworms and soil biota.

Preferences and establishment

G. spiniger prefer wet clay and loam soils. Beetles can be purchased as starter colonies however, as with other species, if they fail to breed successfully, the reason why needs to be determined. G. spiniger has successfully established in north-east Victoria through a release program.

References

Page last updated: 21 Nov 2022