Onthophagus taurus is a small shiny black beetle (8 – 10mm). Large males have a pair of sweeping long curved horns (like a longhorn bull). Small males (minor males) have tiny horns that extend upward from the back of the head. Females have no horns. They can be mistaken for female O. binodis however they are a shiny black and their pronotum is rounded.
Onthophagus taurus is widely distributed across southern Europe and north Africa and beyond. It has been one of the most successful releases in Australia. Studies suggest O. taurus may be displacing, or marginalising, O. binodis in some areas.
Onthophagus taurus flies during the day and are active from spring until autumn. Shallow nests are constructed beneath the dung pad to depths of 10cn in sandy soils. Nests comprise several brood masses, each with a single egg. Development from egg to adult takes 6 to 8 weeks.
Minor males dig side tunnels and sneak past the major males to copulate with the guarded females.
o taurus male 2
O taurus male
O. taurus profile
O taurus breeding chamber