Here in Botswana there are as many cattle as people so cow dung is easy to find especially near water, close to villages. Each pile of dung is a zoo and gets me and my camera very excited, and I’m nor bullshitting. I think more iNaturalists need to explore this fascinating and rather neglected habitat. Let’s do more to compare the fauna and fungal diversity of cow pats around the world. I look forward to getting in contact with fellow coprophiles, to bang heads together as to how we can better explore cow dung biodiversity and learn how it relates to geography, climate and weather. https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/life-in-cow-pats-of-the-world
I am also interested in cow dung. Years ago I was involved in a project to introduce African species of scarab beetle to Australia (where I live). Australia has native scarab species but they were adapted to utilising the small, dry droppings of kangaroo species and such. They could not cope with the dung of large mammalian herbivores. Introducing African scarabs to consume the waste of cattle and horses was fairly successful. It reduced the numbers of blood sucking buffalo fly (who breed in dung). It also reduces the amount of cow dung washing into and polluting water bodies. It was more successful in the drier parts of the continent. On the East Coast, the introduced can toad (Rhinella marina) ate most of the dung beetles before they could achieve their purpose.
I don’t, but I believe it’s a major unexplored field and probably has amazing effects on the natural world. Everything in nature exists for a reason!
I worked as a veterinarian assistant. Poop inspection was an important part of my job. It holds an incredible amount of information, health, nutrition and in the cases of many dogs: unintended, inappropriate diet… found many bits of things from chewed up clothing pieces,crayons, plastics, shoe parts, even pieces of a grill brush. Several of these findings lead to surgery.
Now, I regularly inspect found feces, although none from cattle. Turkey splats to raptor pellets ( not poo, but very interesting), many forms of mammal feces, giving clues to food sources and diets. And so many invertebrates! Excellent place to photograph beautiful butterflies….
I can’t say I’m excited by poo, but I do take time to check it out!
Very interesting !
I haven’t been around them much in at least twenty years, but I remember playing with plenty of them as a kid! This put me right back in that state of mind, pulling apart plant fibers and seeing what beetles were hiding underneath. If I find myself near a cattle area again, you bet I’ll dig in and contribute!
@botswanabugs, you have some exotic bovine dung (but I guess some stuff here would be exotic for you) there. I’m 10-30 minutes away from a few farms that I deal with for getting poop for growing mushrooms.
I haven’t been focused on “live” dung but more of the composted, you gave me a reason to look at it before starting to compost. Even after composting the cow dung can have active mycelium.
I think cow dung would be interesting in the sense that it is a mini ecosystem in and of itself, so it would be cool to see what sort of creatures are dependent on them.
this remids me the Stoned Ape Theory in Spanish here
Lots of cow dung (we call them cow flops or cow pies) on rangeland in western US. I haven’t spent much time looking at it but occasionally dried dung provides cover for vertebrate animals such as small snakes.
I am intersted in methanogens in cow dung, hehe
Dung beetle geek here!
I’m always checking the horse dung for rainbow scarabs!
I’ve seen them digging under domestic dog poo, too, but that’s a bit more … gross.
I have tried examining poo microscopically a few times (but only from my dog and myself, no cows yet), but have always been disappointed not to find any parasites. I even went through the trouble of creating fecal float slides, but still nothing. Perhaps my technique is just off.
You can try your luck with getting Enterobius vermicularis, better if you have kids to experiment on, easy to find out you have them and then after observing easy to get rid of.
diegoalmendras -I havn’t been smoking the dry cow dung or its mushrooms. Wish I knew Spanish !
My very first observation was to try and find out what the “poop butterflies” a coworker and I saw on our walks was actually called.
I did have them, 40 years while on a plane between Botswana and UK. It’s best to wear gloves when rummaging through cow dung. Thanks for the reminder !
I’ve actually only been near cow dung once. It smelled awful but I got a new species out of it: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/73039577
For some reason the rest of my family was not as interested in the poop flies, so I didn’t have time to get better pictures.
I’ve added some butterflies I’ve observed on cow dung drinking the juices - does that count for your project, or do you prefer only species with a more intimate association?