Interaction Between Dung Beetle and Crane Fly - Seeking Insights

Hello Community,

I’m reaching out to share an intriguing observation I recently made in the hopes of gaining some insights from fellow nature enthusiasts and experts.

A bit about me - I’m not a biologist by training; my background is in computer science and library science. However, I’ve been working with biodiversity informatics for over seven years, which has fostered a deep appreciation for the natural world and its complex interactions.

Here’s what piqued my curiosity: I observed a dung beetle, which I believe to be Trypocopris vernalis, engaging in what appeared to be the consumption (it was literally chewing) of a large crane fly from the Family Tipulidae. This event was documented on iNaturalist, and I’ve provided the links below for your reference:

What I found particularly fascinating was that while the beetle seemed to be consuming one of the flies, there were two other flies nearby that appeared almost entranced. This behavior struck me as atypical, at least from my (very shallow) understanding.

Seeking to understand this better, I reached out to a natural history museum for their input. They suggested that the dung beetle might have disturbed two large crane flies during a mating ritual. However, they couldn’t confirm if the beetle was indeed eating a third crane fly in that group, despite the evidence I presented.

Since the museum’s feedback was inconclusive, I’m turning to this knowledgeable community for further information. Has anyone here observed similar behavior? Is it normal for this species of beetle to interact with crane flies in such a manner? Any insights or references to literature that could shed light on this would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you for taking the time to read about my observation. I’m eager to learn from your experiences and knowledge.

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In the middle picture of the Tipula post, I think the right-hand male is copulating with the fly that is being eaten. I have never heard of geotrupids eating flies but a female tipulid full of eggs would be very nutritious.

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You find Trypocopris in the middle of woods where there is no dung around, so they must be kind of opportunistic.

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