DUNG BEETLE SPECIES
Image by: Jan Botha
Copris hispanus is a large deep tunnelling dung beetle (16 – 26mm) that is active from autumn to late spring. The male is unmistakeable with a large curved horn on the head. The front of the male’s pronotum is concave with a pronounced ridge at the top. The female has a smaller horn and her pronotum is less concaved.
Copris hispanus is native to Mediterranean areas of Europe and north Africa. It is considered suitable for winter rainfall regions. C. hispanus were introduced to W.A. decades ago but there has been limited dispersal from the original release in the Williams area. The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development has attempted to establish the species in an area north of Perth, with unknown results. Manjimup cattle producer, Doug Pow, has sourced a small colony of Copris hispanus and held them in a breeding nursery prior to release on the farm. Further efforts will be attempted to increase population density in the area.
Copris hispanus is a ‘brood caring’ dung beetle where the female remains with the four-six brood balls that can be 40cm below the surface. Each brood ball contains a single egg which is laid in the spring – the female remains with the nest until the offspring emerge the following autumn.