Guwahati: A new species of dung beetle has been discovered in Arunachal Pradesh’s Tawang district. The new discovery named ‘Enoplotrupes tawangensis’ is a 27-mm-long insect, relatively bigger than most dung beetles.
The shinning dark blue insect was first examined by two scientist from the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) — Kailash Chandra and Devanshu Gupta. Czech scientist David Král, an expert on dung beetles, confirmed that he found a similar specimen from Bhutan which borders the frontier state.
Dung beetles feed exclusively or partially on feces (dung). They belong to the super family called ‘Scarabaeoidea’ and have clubbed antennae and pro-tibiae (pro-legs) modified for burrowing dung inside the soil.
The species plays an important in agriculture and tropical forests. They bury and consume dung and in turn improves nutrient recycling and soil structure. Further, they also help in seed dispersal and protect livestock from pests by removing dung from nearby.
As per environmentalists, the presence of dung beetles is an indicator of ecological health of an ecosystem. A report by The Hindu stated an international peer-reviewed journal Oriental Insects authored by Devanshu Gupta, Kailash Chandra, David Král, Joyjit Ghosh and Priyanka Das, which said: “Insects comprise almost 65% of all animal species on the planet. From India, approximately 65,000 species of insects are known, of them, more than 22,000 species are beetles.”
Another important distinguishing characteristic of this species is the strong sexual dimorphism [a condition where the two sexes of the same species exhibit different characteristics beyond the differences in their sexual organs], with the fronto-clypeal horn shorter in females than males.