Any of several species of dung beetle (family Scarabaeidae) which roll dung balls either for food or as nests for their larvae.
1853W.R. KingCampaigning in Kaffirland 307The supplies of dung for fuel were very materially interfered with by millions of black beetles, called ‘dung rollers’, a kind of scarabaeus, which swarmed day after day on every part of the plain.
1913C. PettmanAfricanderisms 159Dung rollers, This name is given to several beetles of the Scarabaeidae Family. The nidus in which they deposit their egg is formed of dung, which they shape into a round ball; they roll this with great labour to a suitable locality and cover with loose soil.
1967E. RosenthalEncycl. of Sn Afr. 160Dung Roller, Beetle so called on account of its habit of making balls of dung in which to deposit its eggs.
1970C. Koch inStd Encycl. of Sn Afr.II. 250Dung-beetles..live on dung and excrement. In the group of dung-rollers the female makes a ball of fresh dung round the egg, which is buried in the soil as a source of food for the larva.
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