Wednesday, 24 October 2012

That's Hot! Beetles Dance on Poop Balls to Keep Cool

Dung beetles can use balls of poo much like air-conditioning units to cool themselves, researchers say.

Dung beetles roll up nutritious balls of excrement up to 50 times heavier than their own bodies to feed their young. They roll the balls walking backward, with their heads near the ground. The ancient Egyptians envisioned that the sun was rolled around the sky in much the same way, making the dung (or scarab) beetle an important symbol in ancient Egyptian religion.

Past research showed these insects routinely dance in circles on top of their feasts of dung to help navigate away from rival beetles as quickly as possible. As scientists looked for this dancing, they noticed the beetles climbed onto the excrement balls most often during the midday heat.


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