Burry the Dung-Beetle nest…

Searching for a spot to burry the Nest
Searching for a spot to burry the Nest

Click on image to enlarge!

I am sure, that you will from a Photographic point of view find this a really boring post. I know some of my Photography friends will wonder if I went mad posting these images? I can also imagine their justified comments on the sharpness and quality of the images etc.

This post, however is true to my reason for doing Nature Photography and for bothering with this blog at all.  As a conservationist, I want to capture the amazing images of Nature and share it, so this capture of the insect egology at play, is to me very much part of that rationale.

I am not a ‘Micro’ photographer, so these images are a function of me lying flat on my stomach about 2 to 4 meters away from the subject using the shortest lens I had available at the time, a 70 -200 mm hooked up to a Nikon D300. My repertoire of Photgraphic skills were even more limited then than now, but I think I captured the story.

This is a sequence of images that depicts the process of a Dung-Beetle pair that burries the ball of mostly Elephant dung under the ground. They roll this dung ball until they find a peace of soft soil, unfortunatly right on the road this time, and the male then disappears under the ball and then starts to dig a deep hole under the dung ball.

Synchronized by the instinct of Nature, this is a team effort, as while the male dig the hole, the female feverously tap the top of the dung ball to compact it before it disappears under the ground. She will then move inside the dung ball and lay her eggs. The resultant larvae will eat its way out of the ball later for the cycle of new Dung-Beetles to start. They will aparently burry up to three balls of dung on top of each other at times. What is further significant in terms of the ecology of this, is the fact that in the full cycle of this event, there will be significant chemicals released into the soil that will also contribute to the process of new grass growing on the veld.

These images were captured during December 2008 as part of a visit to the Dulini (& Beyond) Lodge in Sabi Sands, next to the Kruger National Park.

Click on images to enlarge!



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