Monday, July 27, 2015

Green Beetles Rolling Bear Poop Around

I was out geocaching the other afternoon and one of the caches I was after was just off a main road between Niceville and Mossy Head. I pulled off the highway onto a gravel road leading into the woods and stopped the truck.

The GPS said the cache was close so I turned the truck off was getting my pen when I looked out the window and saw a ball of something rolling across the gravel.

It was a little smaller than a golf ball and black and it would roll this way for a minute and then back the other way and then off in another direction. Never really getting anywhere but definitely moving around.

What is that? There was no wind blowing anything around so I got out to see what was happening.

I walked past a pile of bear poop and over to the rolling ball only to discover beetles rolling a ball of bear poop all around the gravel road.

I've never seen beetles moving a ball of poop around and the first thing that came to mind was Dung Beetles.

Do we have dung beetles in Florida? I'm seriously uneducated when it comes to bugs but dung beetles sound like something that would live in an Indiana Jones type place.

There were 4 beetles pushing the poop ball around but they didn't seem to be going anywhere in particular – just sort of here and there.

A 5th beetle was all by himself in the middle of the bear poop, busy doing something with those creepy little pincers of his.

When I got home I learned that these are probably Green June Beetles and even though they aren't called dung beetles they eat dung.

I also found out that the reason the poop ball was moving back and forth was that the beetles were actually fighting over it and each was trying to push it in the direction they wanted to go.

I did notice in the video I took that when just one had control the ball moved in a straight line.

And the lone beetle in the pile of poop? I really wish I'd have paid more attention to him because apparently he was making his own poop ball.

As I was reading about beetles I learned that there are some who navigate by climbing on top of their poop ball and use the Milky Way to guide them.

This was proven when scientist studied them and put little beetlehats on them so they couldn't see the sky and they all got lost.

Making little hats for bugs is not something they told us about at career day in high school.

I really don't like bugs of any kind but bright green beetles rolling a ball of bear poop caught my attention.

Watch the video and you'll see what I mean.

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