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Video: The Scarab Is Sacred. Bug. Beneficial Insects. Dung Beetle. A Photo
Charles Darwin has an interesting observation: "The plow is one of the oldest and most significant human inventions, but long before its invention the soil was properly cultivated with worms."
And such workers as dung beetles ?! Yes, the very ones: who roll balls in front of them; I watched with great interest their "work" in Africa. Unfortunately, they are a zoological rarity in our country. In a day, an elephant eats up to two quintals of grass, which cannot always be called juicy, and therefore does not digest it well, then plucking it out in large piles. This dung would lie under the scorching rays, sintering to stone hardness, if the scarabs were not taken to work. Out of nowhere, they instantly surround the heap, go dexterously, as if on an attack, mold balls and roll away, giving way to their fellows in the division of the spoils. Not even half an hour passes before not a trace remains of the heap - the manure in the form of balls is already hidden in the holes.
Scarab species number in the thousands. Some dung beetles are microscopic, others are capable of sculpting and rolling balls the size of a child's fist. There are those who, right under the heap, begin to dig rather deep mines and drag manure there. The front of the head in scarabs is like an excavator bucket. The female digs the ground for them, throws out the "breed", and the male feeds the manure. A friend rolls balls out of it and hides a testicle in each.
In Europe, there are beetles capable of dragging manure into holes two thousand times their own weight. In some of them, during transportation, the female balances on the ball, and the husband pushes it. Others roll in pairs, while others the female runs alongside. Some scarabs have adapted to find heaps of droppings at night, others only during the day. Among them there are, so to speak, omnivores, and there are those who deal only with the manure of certain animals.
And what efficiency! Before the flight, the beetles "warm up", after 5 minutes their body temperature rises from 27 to 40 degrees. War scarabs are even higher - 41 degrees. A hot beetle rolls the ball at a speed of up to 15 meters per minute. But it is worth relaxing, delighted with the prey, as the opponent pounces on the ball, trying to snatch him to himself. It happens that the kolobok falls apart. But it will not disappear - the remains will pick up smaller bugs and hide them in their burrows.
We do not see how at night the dung heap moves from the many bugs swarming in it. We do not see how, with the onset of the evening coolness, a lot of worms crawl out into the air in the garden and in the garden beds. Rustles do not stop until dawn. It is the worms that move the earth apart in order to let the moist air into their passages, grind the fallen leaves and swallow them together with grains of sand. All this - a blade of grass, a wing of a dragonfly or a fragment of a bird's feather - is soaked in gastric juice, decomposed and thrown out in a bunch of tiny grains. But that is not yet a ready-made soil, but only part of a polysyllabic and mysterious process.
Our distant ancestors worshiped the sun and the moon, prayed to the stars, asked the sky for rain. Their deities were a river carrying fertile silt, a tree with sweet fruits, a cow giving milk … But to deify a beetle! How grateful the Egyptians must have been to this winged benefactor pushing a prosaic ball in front of him, if the scarab became for them a symbol of the sun! The priests put it next to God, proclaimed it a symbol of the creation of life on Earth. Beetles were embalmed, like pharaohs, their figures were carved from precious stones.
© Rafael Brix