It clings with its hind tarsi to its precious pellet

TCD MS 10515 folio 91 recto

TCD MS 10515 folio 91 recto

an accumulation of dung. It presses together the fragments of refuse with its fore legs, shapes the mass into a ball and slices away the irregularities of the surface with its chisel head. Should the fragment of dung produce a pellet too small for the beetle, it rolls the pellet away and proceeds to search for more dung to bring its pellet to the required size. It searches systematically. It clings with its hind tarsi to its precious pellet, stretches out its body in different directions as if it were scenting the air for a guide to the nearest refuse. And I believe it really is exerting a sense of smell for its antennae slowly and deliberately move as the insect seeks its object by exploring the odours of the air. When it finds a further supply, then more dung is added to the pellet and the whole rounded off.