Most dung beetles can collect 50 times their own weight in dung

Dung beetles are renowned for their incredible strength and acute sense of smell when collecting the dung of other animals, usually herbivores, and rolling it back to their burrow. Most dung beetles can collect 50 times their own weight in dung, but male Onthophagus taurus beetles are able to push 1,141 times their mass, making them the strongest insect in the world. This is the equivalent of a human pulling six double-decker buses full of people.


Male dung beetles developed the strong hind legs required for this feat because they often have to fight off rivals to mate with a female waiting in an underground burrow for the delivery of dung from a male counterpart. Females lay eggs within dung to provide both nutrition and protection for their offspring, who feed on the solid waste. Adult beetles consume only the fluid of the dung, which they extract by squeezing the dung in their mouths. The process of collecting and re-using dung is also useful for the surrounding ecosystem. Not only does it provide nutrients for the soil, but it also prevents the build-up of pests such as flies.