Common Dor Beetle

Fast Facts

Latin name: Geotrupes stercorarius

Notable feature: A large and black compact looking beetle with a rounded body shape and beautiful metallic blue, green, violet or mixture of these colours, on its underside

Conservation Status: Not Evaluated

Where in the UK: Is common and can be found across the UK

Common Dor Beetle (Geotrupes stercorarius) © Kayttaja kompak

The Common Dor Beetle is a native, large, black compact looking beetle with a rounded body shape.  Its upper surface has a blue or green sheen to it whilst the margins of the wing cases (the elytra) and the thorax (the section between the head and abdomen known as a pronotum) often have a brighter metallic colouration.  The underside of the beetle is a metallic blue, violet, green colour or a mixture of these colours.

The Common Dor can be confused with the Common Dumble Dor (Geotrupes spiniger).

The Common Dor is generally a shinier looking beetle and has dense black hairs that evenly cover the segments of the abdomen (seen from underneath), whereas the Common Dumble Dor lacks hair centrally on each abdominal segment.  There are also subtle differences in the hind limbs of these beetles.

Common Dor Beetle (Geotrupes stercorarius) © Kayttaja kompak
Common Dor Beetle (Geotrupes stercorarius) © Kayttaja kompak
  • Size:  16-26mm
  • Life span:  Possibly 2-3 years
  • Diet:  Both adults and their larvae feed on the dung of large herbivores such as sheep, cattle and deer but display a preference for horse dung.  They will also feed on well-rotted fungi.
  • Reproduction:  Mating occurs in the spring, with both sexes excavating vertical burrows under herbivore dung pats that are up to 50cm deep. The female beetle will then dig a series of horizontal branches off the central burrow, in which she deposits dung and a single egg. She will then seal each chamber off with soil excavated from the next horizontal tunnel. Larvae develop through the summer, and some will pupate and emerge as adults during the autumn while others remain as larvae underground overwinter and pupate in the spring.
  • When to see:  The Common Dor Beetle is active from around April/May. It is particularly active at twilight and can be attracted to light in large numbers. Adult beetles are often seen flying over pastures on warm spring and summer evenings.
  • Population Trend: Unknown
  • Threats:  Earth boring dung beetles populations are affected by the loss of permanent pasture and livestock being removed from pasture for long periods. They are also affected by the use of broad spectrum veterinary worming products.
  • Fun Fact: By late spring most adult beetles will be carrying large numbers of mites over the undersides of their bodies. These mites cause the beetles no harm but merely use them to hitch a lift to fresh dung pats.

How you can help: 

Buglife is working to increase awareness of invertebrates and the Common Dor Beetle through specific projects and campaigns, but we need your help!

Join a recording scheme and log your finds – send any records/sightings to the British Scarab Recording Scheme who work to promote the recording of dor beetles and other species of scarabs or download the iRecord app and get recording!

Do remember that we rely on donations to continue our work.  If you have searched, found and learnt about our incredible invertebrates on our website, please do consider Making a Donation, Becoming a Member or maybe even making a purchase in our shop.  For more ideas on how to support our work find out how to Get Involved.  Thank you 🕷