Aphodius fimetarius

Scarabaeidae  : Aphodiinae

A very widespread European species now present in New Zealand. First seen only a few years ago (?2004) on Banks Peninsula and Auckland it is widespread in Northland and is now spreading onto the plains near Christchurch. Adults are best found by breaking open horse dung at the drop site in paddocks during warm, humid weather, at least in December. The adults are common, up to five have been found in a single normal-sized intact dropping. They apparently do not like dry droppings. For sanitary and health reasons many horse owners collect the droppings and stack them away from the horses. This may provide the perfect site for the life of this beetle - its larvae develop within the droppings and the soil below the droppings and pupate there. It has also been found in the far north of NZ in cattle pats which are considered elsewhere to be the most common habitat for the adults. The beetles fly quite well and are attracted to dung. Their distribution may well be facilitated by being transported by horse floats and cattle trucks to new sites.
Adult beetles are easily recognised by their red elytra, and the jet-black pronotum has a small reddish area at its anterior corners. The antennae and tarsi are also reddish. There are three small points on the front of the head (see www.zin.ru/animalia/Coleoptera/eng/aphsp_dg.htm).

Text updated: 27/11/2013