Here are the answers to yesterday's quiz on dung beetles. If you missed the quiz itself, you can find it here. A great video on the under-recognized dung beetle can be found here. Enjoy!
1. Ancient Egyptians worshipped the humble dung beetle (scarab) because (d) they believed the sun was rolled across the sky each day by a mythical dung beetle, and buried at the end of each day - only to be reborn the next.
2. Dung beetles are found on every continent except (b) Antarctica. Too cold. Enough said.
3. Female dung beetles lay eggs in (a) dung. In some species, the mom and dad dung beetle roll a perfectly spherical dung ball together, until they find a soft piece of soil in which to bury it. After mating under ground, they prepare the "brooding ball" and the female lays her eggs inside it. Hatching larvae then have plenty of easy access to food (dung).
4. Dung beetles are the farmers' friends. They (a) aerate and fertilize soil, and (b) recycle animal droppings which has the added benefit of (c) reducing the population of flies and other insects which would be attracted to animal waste. So the answer is (d) - all of the above.
5. Dried dung beetles are used by Chinese herbalists for (a) curing many different diseases.
6. Dung beetles have been literary characters in the works of (d) - all listed authors. With an explanation. Aesop wrote the fable, "The Dung Beetle and the Eagle," Aristophanes' play "Peace" features a hero who rides to Mt. Olympus on an over-sized dung beetle, Kafka's character in "The Metamorphisis" is called an "old dung beetle," Poe wrote "The Gold-Bug,"and Wodehouse wrote of the theft of a prized scarab in "Something Fresh." But the Faulkner listed in the quiz is not William but Raymond, an English Egyptologist and philologist, the author of "A Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian."
7. As mentioned in question 3 above, dung beetle larvae feed on (a) dung upon hatching from the brooding ball. It is a convenient system, which gives the larvae a storehouse of nutritious food.
8. Dung beetles have the ability to roll balls of dung weighing (c) 50 times their weight. If you have not seen this colorful activity, take a look at another great video here. After learning a bit more about the dung beetle, we hope you give thanks for this humble bug this weekend.