Agriculture produces enormous amounts of animal waste, which in turn emits great quantities of methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. But the dung beetle, which lives and feeds in feces, brings an unexpected breath of fresh air to decomposing cow dung. As the beetles tunnel through the dung they enable oxygen’s flow, limiting the production of harmful methane.

Science Bulletins is a production of the National Center for Science Literacy, Education, and Technology (NCSLET), part of the Department of Education at the American Museum of Natural History.


PLoS ONE: Quantifying Beetle-Mediated Effects on Gas Fluxes from Dung Pats

University of Helsinki, Department of Agricultural Sciences: Spatial Foodweb Ecology Group

BBC Nature: Dung Beetles Videos, Facts, and News

Science Bulletins: Dung Beetles Help from the Ground Up

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