|The Florida Dung Beetle- an idea?|
In this case, it’s an exciting find. Our crew of hikers, seven of us, huddle close together, marveling over our discovery. Our captive, a rainbow scarab, is a brilliant iridescent blue-green beetle with a hoe-like brown horn projecting well above his wedged forehead.
Sandra Friend, and John Keatley lead our hike. Their shared passion for hiking is contagious. We're a group of Florida Outdoor Writers Association’s conference attendees who opted out of fishing on the great Kissimmee River basin. This year's conference host, the rustic Westgate River Ranch, is situated at Lake Kissimmee's south shore and connected to the KICCO Wildlife Management Area. We're hiking the Florida Trail south toward Ice Cream Slough.
Along the way I find him wallowing and lifting the earth under a pile of unidentifiable clay-like gray dung on a very narrow portion of the Florida Trail wedged between a divined grove of ancient palmettos. For me it's one of the more interesting beetles I've seen, and I've seen my good share. Twenty years ago while surfing and camping in Pavones, Costa Rica, my companions and I discovered a huge, somewhat similar-looking beetle in brush near our campsite. It had a marvelous glitzy exoskeleton, and its body nearly filled my hand. After we caught and released the critter, we watched in amazement as it opened its wings and loudly buzzed away. It was twice the size of some of the birds we were seeing around us.
This Florida dung beetle is about the size of my thumbnail. Noticeably happy when I gently place him down he disappears back under the scat, quickly escaping the tip of the palm fond branch I use to achieve its poopy catch and release.
While this critter encounter could lead me down a path lined in crappy thoughts, it actually paves a pathway of inspiring possibilities. I marvel at how such a diminutive beetle can generate the strength to lift a hundred times its weight in dung.
Later that day back at River Ranch, the FOWA conference's annual Al Hubbard Corporate and Tourism Showcase is buzzing with writers and authors. Many of them visit our LPP display and fill out our LPP writer's questionnaire. The data we receive from the questionnaire clearly shows the vast majority of writers understand and appreciate the value of publishing an eBook and have the desire to publish an eBook.
Rodney Smith, CEO of Little Pond Publishing;and author of Catching Made Easy and Enjoying life on the Indian River Lagoon is a visionary and community leader who like to share his tales. Download these books digitally on Amazon, iTunes and Barnes and Noble by searching "Rodney Smith+Name of book"; or order the soft-covered books online! See all of Rodney's upcoming events and exploits at www.rodneysmithmedia.com.