< Fauna
Sacer Dung Beetle
Scarabaeus sacer

The Sacer Dung Beetle (Scarabaeus sacer) is one of the most interesting insects in Bulgaria. The species is a representative of the big subfamily Scarabaeinae (Dung Beetles). It can reaches a length of 35-38 mm. The subfamily bears its name from the fact that its representatives make and carry dung balls (made of manure, compost and other decaying organic matter). The semi-matt black beetle, most often can be found rolling an almost perfect shape ball of dung. These spherical formations, the dung beetle forms by using its curved tibia of hind legs. The wide flattened body has peculiar features specialized for digging: 6 lugs edge in front of the head and front legs with jagged shin.

Except in Southern Europe, this beetle is also found in North Africa and Central Asia. In Bulgaria it is widespread in warm places - including the Black Sea coast and the Kresna Gorge. In our territory, during the winter it remains buried in the ground, waiting to crawl out in April. Scarabaeus sacer is active during the day, especially in warm and sunny weather. As an adult insect and beetle larva the species feed on manure of mammals. The beetle identifies its food using its keen sense of smell. From afar it can perceived the smell of fresh bovine, equine, sheep or camel dung. With the front of the head and first pair of legs, the scarabs separate out from the fresh excrement small particles and form balls. When the time comes to lay eggs, the female beetles produce their own balls of dung. They roll them to some distance, then bury them in the soil and lay their eggs inside. This limits their instinctive care for the offspring. The hatched larvae feed on manure from the inside of the ball without damaging the walls of his asylum. The food of the larva reaches to the end of its development, when it becomes a pupa. The transformation of the pupa into an adult insect - young scarab takes up to a month.

The Sacer Scarab (Scarabaeus sacer ) is one of the symbols of ancient Egypt. Therefore bears the name Egyptian sacred dung beetle. The Egyptians were watching the beetle roll dung balls through the dust on the ground and made the association with the movement of the solar disk in the sky. Hence the association of the beetle with the rising sun. In old Egyptian the name of this species is "heper", ie "Whoever rolls." By a strange coincidence, the word "heper" is very close to the word "Khepri", which means "turn, transform." In the perception of the Egyptians, the god Khepri is the epitome of this sacred property - constantly taking different forms. Over time, the Sacer Dung Beetle turned to the ancient Egyptians as a symbol of the god Khepri, ie. of renewal and transformation, as well as the invisible creative power that moves the sun across the sky Ra. The Egyptians believed that scarabs can generate strong positive energy. They believed that even their symbolic image that occurs quite often as a motif in ancient Egyptian art, can heal and protect. This sacred beetle is considered the symbol of health and protection by higher powers, the life, with Anh (Egyptian symbol for eternal life) and the Eye of Horus (symbolizing "omniscient deity"), it portrayed immortality. Scarabs became a living image of the faith of the Egyptians in the eternal life of the soul after death.

Bozhana Ribarova
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