Q:

What do scarab beetles eat?

A:

Quick Answer

Scarab beetles have an omnivorous diet, which means they eat both meat- and plant-based food items. The specifics of the scarab beetle's diet varies with the species of scarab beetle. Some common food sources for scarab beetles include plants, fruit, carrion, dung, fungi and other insects.

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Full Answer

The most well-known scarab beetle is the dung beetle, which primarily consumes animal waste. Other scarab beetles live on slime left behind by snails. Since scarab beetles eat plants, they are pests when it comes to crops planted for human use. However, some scarab beetles live off of plants by consuming their sap or pollen. These scarabs aid in pollinating other plants, proving to be a benefit.

The diet of the scarab beetle can vary depending on the physical characteristics of the particular species. Dung beetles for example, have a well-developed sense of smell to allow them to find the best dung containing the optimal level of nutrients. These beetles also have specialized mouth parts to access the moisture and nutrients contained within the dung. Dung beetles often eat the dung of herbivores, although recent research at the University of Nebraska found that dung beetles may be more attracted to dung left by omnivorous animals. Dung from omnivorous animals contains valuable nutrients and has an odor that makes it easier for the dung beetles to find.

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