Woodland Dor Beetle

Fast Facts

Latin name: Anoplotrupes stercorosus

Notable feature: A compact looking black beetle that has an overall rounded body shape in appearance. The upper surface of the body of this beetle has a metallic blue sheen and the underside a bright metallic blue or violet colouration.

Conservation Status: Not Evaluated

Woodland Dor Beetle (Anoplotrupes stercorosus) © Unknown

Commonly known as earth-boring dung beetles the Woodland Dor Beetle (Anoplotrupes stercorosus) is one of eight species of dor beetle found in the UK.

The Woodland Dor Beetle is a native, black beetle with a metallic blue sheen to the upper surface of its body and a bright metallic blue or violet colouration on its underside. It is a compact looking beetle with a rounded body shape – more so than when compared to other species of dor beetle (Geotrupes species), for example the Common Dor (Geotrupes stercorarius) and the Common Dumble Dor (Geotrupes spiniger).  The grooves (known as striae) on the wing cases (the elytra) are shallow in appearance and have numerous crosslines between them along the outer edge of the elytra.

Although most commonly found in woodland sites throughout western Britain, the Woodland Dor Beetle can also be seen in grassland and heathland habitats.

  • Size: 12-19mm in length
  • Life span: Thought to be 2-3 years
  • Diet: Both adults and larvae feed on dung, decaying fungi and rotting plant material.
  • Reproduction: Adults mate in the spring and female beetles will burrow to a depth of up to 30cm underneath a pile of dung, typically herbivore dung. Brood chambers are then excavated from the main tunnel and filled with dung, rotting plant material and fungi, into which the female will lay eggs. Larvae develop through the summer and autumn and emerge to feed before returning to overwinter underground.
  • When to see:  Adults emerge from March with peaks in activity from late spring to late summer. Although most active at twilight adults can also be seen on warm days in large numbers on the ground, particularly on woodland paths and glades
  • Population Trend: Declining
  • Threats: Reduction and loss of habitat; woodland and grassland.  Disturbance from human activity including excessive foraging.  Chemicals found in faecal matter such as wormers and medicines.
  • Fun Fact: Adult beetles can bury almost a whole cow pat in a single night!

How you can help: 

Buglife is working to increase awareness of invertebrates and the Woodland 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 DonationBecoming 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 🕷