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Aphodius contaminatus

The family of Scarab Beetles is not only comprised of the Chafers, but of the Dung Beetles as well. They look for fresh dung, dig a hole in the earth, put the dung in, lay an egg on it and cover it with earth. After hatching the larvae will feed on the dung. In forests we regularly see them walking about slowly. These are the big, black or blueish black species. In gardens these are rare, but we might find one of the numerous smaller species, often belonging to a genus called Aphodius. Aphodius contaminatus is a good example. The species is attracted to rabbit dung especially. After hatching the grubs will eat the dung, but may be harmful to grass roots as well. This way they sometimes cause damage to golf courses. But usually more damage is done by birds that feed on them. Especially rooks and other crow family members can do a lot of so-called secundary damage by turning the grass over searching for the larvae. Aphodius contaminatus is a very common chafer throughout Europe (including the British Isles) and Asia. It does however prefer rather dry, sandy soils.