A new species of dung beetle has been discovered in Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh. The species, Enoplotrupes tawangensis, is shining dark blue in colour and, measuring up to 27 mm, is relatively bigger than most of the dung beetles. The specimen was first collected and studied by two scientists from the Zoological Survey of India: Kailash Chandra and Devanshu Gupta. David Král, a Czech scientist who is an expert on dung beetles, confirmed that he had in his collection similar specimens from Bhutan, which borders Tawang.
Dung beetles belong to the super family scarabaeoidea, having clubbed antennae and pro-tibiae (pro-legs) modified for burrowing dung inside the soil. These groups of insects are considered beneficial to the environment as they help in nutrient cycling of the soil. Often referred to as little recyclers, these scavenger beetles require mammalian dung to survive.
Dung beetles feed exclusively or partially on feces (dung). The species play an important in agriculture and tropical forests. They bury and consume dung and in turn improve nutrient recycling and soil structure. Further, they also help in seed dispersal and protect livestock from pests by removing dung from nearby.
As per environmentalists, the presence of dung beetles is an indicator of ecological health of an ecosystem. Another important distinguishing characteristic of this species is the strong sexual dimorphism (a condition where the two sexes of the same species exhibit different characteristics beyond the differences in their sexual organs), with the fronto-clypeal horn shorter in females than males.