South America’s Largest Dung Beetle

Coprophanaeus lancifer is the largest of all South American dung beetles, found in Surnaime. Despite its name, this species feeds more frequently on carrion (dead animals) than on dung. A highly unusual case in the Animal Kingdom, both males and females of this species possess a long horn on their head, which they use during intense battles with other individuals of the same sex. The vast difference in adult body size seen here is primarily determined by how much food was available to the developing larva. This species is capable of rapidly burying large animal carcasses, providing an important ecological service that sustains rain forest health.

It was one 1,378 species identified–as many as 60 of them new species–in the rainforest-clad mountains of Southeastern Suriname, South America, during a first-ever survey by international biologists of an area Conservation International described as “a wilderness area virtually without any human influence and among the most remote and unexplored tracts of rainforest left on Earth.”

> Related: Recently Extinct Animals (Photos)

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