IELTS Academic Reading Sample 6 - A Remarkable Beetle

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1-13 which are based on Reading Passage 6 below.

 A Remarkable Beetle

Some of the most remarkable beetles are the dung beetles, which spend almost their whole lives eating and breeding in dung’.

ielts reading 6More than 4,000 species of these remarkable creatures have evolved and adapted to the world’s different climates and the dung of its many animals. Australia’s native dung beetles are scrub and woodland dwellers, specialising in coarse marsupial droppings and avoiding the soft cattle dung in which bush flies and buffalo flies breed.

In the early 1960s George Bornemissza, then a scientist at the Australian Government’s premier research organisation, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), suggested that dung beetles should be introduced to Australia to control dung-breeding flies. Between 1968 and 1982, the CSIRO imported insects from about 50 different species of dung beetle, from Asia, Europe and Africa, aiming to match them to different climatic zones in Australia. Of the 26 species that are known to have become successfully integrated into the local environment, only one, an African species released in northern Australia, has reached its natural boundary.

Introducing dung beetles into a pasture is a simple process: approximately 1,500 beetles are released; a handful at a time, into fresh cow pats 2 in the cow pasture. The beetles immediately disappear beneath the pats digging and tunnelling and, if they successfully adapt to their new environment, soon become a permanent, self-sustaining part of the local ecology. In time they multiply and within three or four years the benefits to the pasture are obvious.

Dung beetles work from the inside of the pat so they are sheltered from predators such as birds and foxes. Most species burrow into the soil and bury dung in tunnels directly underneath the pats, which are hollowed out from within. Some large species originating from France excavate tunnels to a depth of approximately 30 cm below the dung pat. These beetles make sausage-shaped brood chambers along the tunnels. The shallowest tunnels belong to a much smaller Spanish species that buries dung in chambers that hang like fruit from the branches of a pear tree. South African beetles dig narrow tunnels of approximately 20 cm below the surface of the pat. Some surface-dwelling beetles, including a South African species, cut perfectly-shaped balls from the pat, which are rolled away and attached to the bases of plants.

For maximum dung burial in spring, summer and autumn, farmers require a variety of species with overlapping periods of activity. In the cooler environments of the state of Victoria, the large French species (2.5 cms long) is matched with smaller (half this size), temperate-climate Spanish species. The former are slow to recover from the winter cold and produce only one or two generations of offspring from late spring until autumn. The latter, which multiplies rapidly in early spring, produce two to five generations annually. The South African ball-rolling species, being a subtropical beetle, prefers the climate of northern and coastal New South Wales where it commonly works with the South African tunnelling species. In warmer climates, many species are active for longer periods of the year.

Dung beetles were initially introduced in the late 1960s with a view to controlling buffalo flies by removing the dung within a day or two and so preventing flies from breeding. However, other benefits have become evident. Once the beetle larvae have finished pupation, the residue is a first-rate source of fertiliser. The tunnels abandoned by the beetles provide excellent aeration and water channels for root systems. In addition, when the new generation of beetles has left the nest the abandoned burrows are an attractive habitat for soil-enriching earthworms. The digested dung in these burrows is an excellent food supply for the earthworms, which decompose it further to provide essential soil nutrients. If it were not for the dung beetle, chemical fertiliser and dung would be washed by rain into streams and rivers before it could be absorbed into the hard earth, polluting water courses and causing blooms of blue-green algae. Without the beetles to dispose of the dung, cow pats would litter pastures making grass inedible to cattle and depriving the soil of sunlight. Australia’s 30 million cattle each produce 10-12 cow pats a day. This amounts to 1.7 billion tonnes a year, enough to smother about 110,000 sq km of pasture, half the area of Victoria.

Dung beetles have become an integral part of the successful management of dairy farms in Australia over the past few decades. A number of species are available from the CSIRO or through a small number of private breeders, most of whom were entomologists with the CSIRO’s dung beetle unit who have taken their specialised knowledge of the insect and opened small businesses in direct competition with their former employer.

Glossary
  1.  dung:- the droppings or excreta of animals
  2.  cow pats:- droppings of cows

Questions 1-5
Do the following statements reflect the claims of the writer in Reading Passage 6? In boxes 1-5 on your answer sheet write:
         YES              if the statement reflects the claims of the writer
         NO                if the statement contradicts the claims of the writer
         NOT GIVEN   if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this

1       Bush flies are easier to control than buffalo flies.
2       Four thousand species of dung beetle were initially brought to Australia by the CSIRO.
3       Dung beetles were brought to Australia by the CSIRO over a fourteen-year period.
4       At least twenty-six of the introduced species have become established in Australia.
5       The dung beetles cause an immediate improvement to the quality of a cow pasture.

Questions 6-8
Label the tunnels on the diagram below. Choose your labels from the box below the diagram. Write your answers in boxes 6-8 on your answer sheet.
Write your answers in boxes 6-8 on your answer sheet.

IELTS Academic Reading Sample 6

Dung Beetle Types

French                      Spanish
Mediterranean           South African
Australian native        South African ball roller.

Question 9-13
Complete the table below.
Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS OR A NUMBER from Reading Passage 6 for each answer.
Write your answers in boxes 9—13 on your answer sheet.

Species

Size

Preferred

Climate

Complementary

species

Start of

active period

Number of

generations

per  year

French

2.5 cm

Cool

Spanish

Late spring

1-2

Spanish

1.25 cm

9

 

10

1

South African ball roller

 

12

13

 

 


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1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Rating 3.71 (19 Votes)

Comments   

0 # Jotu Singh 2016-11-08 07:45
I've got 12 out of 13.
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0 # Syam Prasad 2016-10-25 11:57
I have got 11 out of 13.
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0 # Hammu 2016-10-22 13:49
I got 12 out of 13.
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0 # Julia 2016-09-08 05:59
I only got 7/13. Please help!!
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0 # Rosa 2016-07-23 10:58
Quoting Abdul Rahman:
I have a good idea about the IELTS test because I did it on last April. Add me on Facebook (abdulrahman elghoul).


Hi , may I ask you what is your strategy on IELTS test?
Appreciate in advance.
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-1 # Sai.l 2016-06-03 04:54
Guys, please help me. I am able to complete only 3 passages within an hour and scoring only 15-16! Please help me. I am having my exam on June 25.
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0 # Abdul Rahman 2016-06-19 23:09
I have a good idea about the IELTS test because I did it on last April. Add me on Facebook (abdulrahman elghoul).
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+1 # Ekram 2016-02-11 12:11
Can anybody explain ques (12) please?
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0 # Fancy 2016-07-17 12:34
Quoting Ekram:
Can anybody explain ques (12) please?

I don't agree with the answer of Q12. I wrote "warm" because in another answer, they wrote "cool" and they have not noticed that it is a tropical climate.
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0 # Mikhor 2016-07-22 10:59
Quoting Fancy:
Quoting Ekram:
Can anybody explain ques (12) please?

I don't agree with the answer of Q12. I wrote, "warm" because in another answer, they wrote "cool" and they have not noticed that it is a tropical climate.


The South African ball-rolling species, being a subtropical beetle...

The clue to the answer is 'subtropical'.
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0 # Vasim 2016-06-03 07:23
Sub-tropical is a kind of climate.
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0 # Afrin 2016-01-18 03:51
Can you please let me know if I have to maintain the sequence given in diagram for the questions 6-8?
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0 # IELTS Mentor 2016-01-18 03:59
Yes.
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+1 # Saddy 2016-01-17 17:40
Can I answer 6-8 in any order or I have to maintain any sequence of these questions?
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+1 # IELTS Mentor 2016-01-18 03:59
No, You need to maintain the sequence for these three questions.
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+2 # Saddy 2016-01-18 04:40
Which order i have to maintain. there are no labels for 6-8?
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+1 # LE 2015-12-23 23:12
I don't understand question 6 - 8. Please help me.
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0 # Andreia 2016-06-01 19:46
Are these samples tests similar to the real IELTS? I am taking it in about three weeks.
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+2 # Andreia 2016-06-01 19:44
Where are the labels 6-8?
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-1 # Ram 2015-11-01 17:54
Why 5 is no :"Without the beetles to dispose of the dung, cow pats would litter pastures making grass inedible to cattle and depriving the soil of sunlight"
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+1 # Ittsel 2015-12-17 23:15
Because it does not cause an immediate improvement "In time they multiply and within three or four years the benefits to the pasture are obvious."
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+5 # Nafis 2015-10-22 02:21
Help to find out my 9-13 answer. I don't understand 9-13. How to answer ?? Because there is only 4 gaps but you have to fill up 5 gaps. how to do that"??
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-1 # Karmveerkaurkhosa 2015-10-14 18:55
Please help me in reading and writing.
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0 # Esha 2015-10-05 19:24
So is it yes or no???
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-1 # Azamat 2015-09-23 18:05
Please guys write me anything about as I have to improve English. My number +998933847336.
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+8 # motaz 2015-05-27 12:49
why number 4 is yes instead of NO ?
in the article there is only one of 26 released in northern Australia
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+1 # Ann 2015-10-05 23:59
Quoting motaz:
why number 4 is yes instead of NO ?
in the article there is only one of 26 released in northern Australia

You are observing the wrong part of the sentence. The emphasis has to be given to the part that states " of the 26 species that are known to have successfully integrated into the local environment ."
This reveals the answer that at least 26 species have become established.
So the answer is YES.
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0 # heena patel 2015-03-10 23:22
I need to reading. ... so help this website
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+2 # Aakash vaghela 2015-08-22 15:52
If want good score in reading, just do every passage very confidently.
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