Friday, March 27, 2009

Fun Fact Friday -- The Dung Beetle

The dung beetle is, of all of the bugs God created, one of the more interesting and disgusting. What possed me to write about it you ask? Honestly... I don't know. I guess sometimes one just gets an idea into one's head and has to follow through. So, here I am writing about dung beetles.

Name: Dung Beetle also called tumblebugs or scarabs

Scientific Name: Phanaeus vindex MacLachlan; Onthophagus gazella Fabricius (big name for such a little fellow)

Length: 3 to 50 millimeters long

Life Span: Up to 3 years.

With geometric artistry, the dung beetles use their legs and mouth parts to fashion freshly laid dung into huge circular or pear-shaped structures and then roll them into an underground nest that has been prepared by both the male and the female. The female then lays a single egg into each ball of dung and covers the nest with more dung and soil. When the eggs hatch, the larvae will feed on the fecal matter. When the beetle has chewed through the ball of dung it is then big enough to begin it's own nest.

Now to the really interesting part.

Did you know... that Dung beetles were worshiped in ancient Egypt? It's true. Because of it's unique way of laying eggs, the beetles appeared to just "pop" into existence. One day there was a ball of dung and the next *POOF* instant beetle. Egyptians believed that the beetle gave life and they honored it in their carvings and sculptures.

Did you know... that the Chinese legends say that a giant dung beetle formed the first humans out of clay? What a heritage. To think that you were made by a beetle!

Did you know... that when the droppings of millions of cattle started ruining the land in Australia, dung beetles were imported to reduce the problem.

Did you know... that when it's mating time, a male roller uses a dung ball to attract a female. If she accepts, she helps the male roll the ball to a spot where they bury it.

Alright, now that you know more than you probably ever wanted to know about Phanaeus vindex MacLachlan; Onthophagus gazella Fabricius (say that five times fast!) it's time for our spiritual lesson.
Okay, I know that when I said that you probably re-read it to make sure you heard right, but you didn't read it wrong. We are going to have a spiritual lesson from the dung beetle.

As you know, the dung beetle spends it's entire life accumulating dung. To us it might seem utterly ridiculous that it would want to have the stuff when there are so many other things to choose from, but no. The beetle wants dung. From the time it's born until it dies the beetle rolls it's ball. Day and night, it doesn't ever leave it.

So now, how many of us have stuff? How many of us like the stuff that we have? Don't be shy, tell the truth. Would you be upset if someone was to come and take everything that you have leaving you totally helpless? I know I would. Now here's the real toughy. God says that all our righteous works are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). If our righteous works are like filthy rags, what does that make our earthly possesions? I would guess that it would make them a lot like... you guessed it, dung.

Therefore, just like the beetles, we have our little balls of possessions that we roll around with us wherever we go. If we, humans, look at the dung beetles and see just how small a world they live in, what do you think that God sees us doing? God has given us so much, yet we are too involved "rolling our dung" to pay attention. I can just see myself pushing around a huge ball of all my stuff and yelling "my ball, don't touch!" to everyone who passes by. It might seem really funny (and I'll admit that the image does make me smile), but it is so true for me so much of the time. We need to leave our "dung" and follow God and the things that He has for us!

Anyway, now that we have had our "spiritual dung beetle talk", I'll let you go!
Have a wonderful day!

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