There are over 40 species of dung beetle in the subfamily Aphodiinae found in the UK. Some species are quite variable and have several different colour forms, which can make identification more difficult. This course will provide you with the skills you need to be able to start identifying dung beetles in the subfamily Aphodiinae to species using a microscope.

This course provides an introduction to identifying dung beetles in the subfamily Aphodiinae to species. This includes a short presentation introducing the morphological features used to identify specimens to species level, followed by practical sessions guided by our expert tutor. During the lab sessions, you’ll explore a wide variety of different species.

Through a combination of taught classroom content and lab-based practical sessions, learners will gain confidence in using the identification key and preserved specimens to identify dung beetles in the subfamily Aphodiinae to species level.

  • Certificate upon course completion.
  • Please email [email protected] if you have any questions.
  • Please note that this course will involve using specimens that have been killed and preserved.

This course is aimed at adults only and course attendees must be at least 18 years old in order to attend.

What will be covered during this course?

  • The external (morphological) features used in dung beetle identification.
  • Practical experience observing dung beetle ID features using a microscope.
  • How to work through a key to determine dung beetle specimens in the subfamily Aphodiinae accurately to species level.

See the ‘Example Timetable’, ‘What’s Included’ and ‘Before You Attend’ sections below for more information about this course.

Course Fees

Regular Price: £75   For professionals and residents outside of the UK.  Select ‘Attendee: In Person’ Sold Out

Subsidised Price: £10   Subsidised by the FSC BioLinks project for non-professionals eg. volunteers, biological recorders, wildlife gardeners, amateur naturalists and students. Available to UK residents only. Select ‘Attendee Subsidised: In Person’

Tutor: Mary-Emma Hermand

Mary-Emma Hermand is a consultant entomologist with a fondness for dung beetles, particularly their taxonomy and morphology. Founded during an industrial placement year at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History under the guidance of Darren Mann, the National Recording Scheme Organiser for Scarabaeoidea (dung beetles, chafers and their allies), her interest in dung beetles lead her to complete a MSc in Entomology by Research where she studied the morphology and ecology of two cryptic dung beetle species in depth. When not behind a microscope or rummaging through museum insect collections, Mary-Emma enjoys engaging the general public with wildlife from volunteering as an environmental educator with her local Wildlife Trust to leading ID workshops with the FSC.

Covid Measures

In order to keep our customers and staff safe we ask that anyone attending our centres:

  • wears a face covering when in shared indoor space (unless exempt).
  • maintains social distancing.
  • cleans their hands regularly.
  • takes a Covid-19 test before they arrive.

Example Timetable

  • Please arrive in time for the course to start promptly at 10:00 am.
  • Refreshments will be available from 9.45 am.
  • The course will end at 4:00 pm.

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition
  • Hot and Cold Drinks
  • 6 hours of tuition.
  • Certificate of attendance.
  • Access to a microscope, identification resources and specimens.

Bursaries and Subsidies

FSC BioLinks

FSC BioLinks is an exciting project for FSC in the South East and West Midlands, bringing together existing volunteers with skills in biological recording and identification, and new volunteers.

This project provides subsidised training courses, learning opportunities and digital tools focussed on invertebrate identification for anyone involved or interested in biological recording, to build and strengthen the community.

Invertebrates provide us with many useful ecosystem services, like pollination and decomposition, which we cannot survive without but their numbers are declining. Few people know how to identify or record invertebrates meaning there is a lack of data.

We are delighted to have been awarded a grant of £1.23 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for this project.

Before You Attend

Getting to FSC Bishops Wood

FSC Bishops Wood, Crossway Green, Stourport-on-Severn DY13 9SE

  • By car from Kidderminster: (M5, A38, A449 southbound) On the M5 heading southbound coming off at junction 5, taking the third exit on the roundabout to get onto the A38. at the first roundabout take the third exit onto Kidderminster Road going straight over the next roundabout sticking to Kidderminster Road. At the second left turn to follow Doverdale Lane. Once you have come to a sign turning right onto the A449 take it until you get to the Mitre Oak pub on your left. Take the first exit on the roundabout onto Bishops Wood Lane, finally taking the first left on you will arrive at Bishops Wood Field Centre.
  • By car from Worcester: (M5, A449 northbound) On the M5 heading northbound, take Junction 6 to Worcester/ Kidderminster taking the second exit heading for the A449 northbound, continuing for 9 miles. At the roundabout with the Mitre Oak pub take the first exit onto Stourport Road. Take the first left onto Bishops Wood Lane, finally taking the first left on you will arrive at Bishops Wood Field Centre.
  • By train: The nearest station to the centre is Hartlebury. From here, it is a two-mile walk to FSC Bishops Wood, or a short taxi ride.

What to bring

  • Notebook and pencil
  • Lunch
  • Any specimens that you'd like verified (tutor availability during the course permitting)

Please note that this course will involve using specimens that have been killed and preserved.

There will be a member of staff with first aid training and access to a first aid kit on site. If you have special medical requirements please let us know as soon as possible so we can plan the course.

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