Beetles Large and Small



TO the ancient Egyptians, scarab beetles were of great religious significance. The pharaohs were placed in their tombs with replicas of the scarab, precisely and uniformly carved according to instructions in the Book of the Dead. These beetles—which build deep underground chambers where their eggs are laid and develop through the larval, white grub stage, until as adults they emerge from the earth as beautiful creatures capable of flight—were symbols of resurrection for the Egyptians, symbols of the continuity of life. For those who understand their habits as dung scavengers, they are also a symbol of, and the central participant in, the continuous cycles of the ecosystem in which they live.


Dung Beetle Flight Muscle Carabid Beetle Tiger Beetle Odor Plume 
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© Bernd Heinrich 1993

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