Scarabæus  (Ateuchus sacer ), one of the dung-beetles well known for the zeal with which they unite in rolling balls of dung to their holes. The dung serves as food, and a beetle having secured a ball seems to gnaw at it continuously—sometimes for a fortnight—until the supply is exhausted. Sometimes an egg is laid in the ball, and the parents unite in rolling this to a place of safety. There are numerous American species.

By the Egyptians the scarabæus was venerated during its life, and often embalmed after death. Entomologists have recognized four distinct species sculptured on the Egyptian monuments, and gems of various kinds of stones were often fashioned in their image.