Monday, April 9 – Insect Recyclers: Dung and Carrion Beetles

Topic: Insect Recyclers: Dung and Carrion Beetles

Date/time/location: Monday, April 9, 7:30 pm, The Donut Whole (1720 E Douglas)

Speakers: Rachel Stone and Emmy Engasser


“If we and the rest of the backboned animals were to disappear overnight, the rest of the world would get on pretty well. But if they were to disappear, the land’s ecosystems would collapse. The soil would lose its fertility. Many of the plants would no longer be pollinated. Lots of animals, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals would have nothing to eat. And our fields and pastures would be covered with dung and carrion. These small creatures are within a few inches of our feet, wherever we go on land – but often, they’re disregarded. We would do very well to remember them.”—David Attenborough

We are utterly outnumbered by insects, but most of us barely give a second thought to our ubiquitous companions. While some insects might serve as sources of disease and annoyance, the truth is that without them we as a species would cease to thrive and survive. Some of the most underappreciated heroes of our ecosystems are the ones with the dirtiest jobs. Join entomologists Rachel Stone and Emmy Engasser in discussing why you should stop and appreciate the contributions of insect recyclers, dung and carrion beetles.

Rachel Stone received her BS in Biological Sciences from WSU and is currently finishing her MSc work in the Biodiversity Laboratory at WSU. Her research is primarily concerned with dung beetle ecology and behavior with a focus on dung beetle attraction to mammal carrion in temperate regions.

Emmy Engasser is an environmental consultant and an adjunct professor at WSU, where she has also received her BS and MSc in Biological Sciences. Her research focus is on carrion beetle habitat preferences in the Kansas Flint Hills. Outside of research, Emmy’s interests lay in the curation and management of museum insect collections.

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