Minotaur beetle

Male minotaur beetle

Male minotaur beetle ©Ian A Kirk

Minotaur beetle

Scientific name: Typhaeus typhoeus
So-named for its three bull-like horns, the Minotaur beetle is a large dung beetle found on grassland and heathland from the autumn. Adults drag dung back to their nests for their larvae to feed on.

Species information


Length: up to 2cm

Conservation status


When to see

September to July


The Minotaur beetle is a large, round dung beetle found on sandy grassland and heathland, where it feeds on rabbit droppings and other dung, mainly at night. Adults emerge in autumn, but still need to mature in order to breed, so undergo an intense feeding period. If the weather is mild, they may start breeding in early winter. They nest in deep tunnels where they lay their eggs and provide dung for the larvae to feed on; they drag the dung back to their nest using their strong front legs. The males use their 'horns' to defend the nest. By the following summer, their cycle is completed and the adults will die to make way for the next generation.

How to identify

The Minotaur beetle is glossy black, with ridges running down the wing cases. Males are unmistakeable, sporting three 'horns' (two long horns and one short one in the centre) on their thorax.


Widespread, but scarce, in England and Wales.

Did you know?

The Minotaur beetle (so-named for its bull-like horns) is one of a number of dung beetles in the UK, all of which bury balls of dung for their larvae to feed on. These beetles provide a vital nutrient-recycling service for our habitats.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife news, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and will be helping local wildlife along the way.