Ecology

Pachylomera femoralis KIRBY

Pachylomera femoralis KIRBY - Zimbabwe (Pachylomera GRIFFITH & PIDGEON)

Pachylomera GRIFFITH & PIDGEON – this genus is represented by two large species. P. opacus, a dung specialist, is the smaller of the two (32mm) and prefers the arid (sandy) savannas of the Kalahari and Gemsbok N.P. The robust P. femoralis (45mm) with its disproportionally enlarged pro-femurs has a wider distribution, and is common to woodland as well as open savanna across much of sub-Saharan Africa. P. femoralis is a fast roller, attracted to a wide range of of dung types, carrion and fermenting fruit. It occurs on sand as well as loam soils. Species list & distribution: PDF

Pachysoma MACLEAY – a genus that consists of 13 large flightless species with a characteristic rounded abdomen and fused elytra. All are endemic to the south-west coast of Africa. Their range extends from along the Cape coast to Namibia where they extend further inland into the Namib desert – one of the most arid regions on the African continent. Pachysoma are well adapted to these extreme conditions. Flightless  reduces water loss and they feed mainly on dry dung pellets and detritus. Food is dragged and then buried as opposed to the conventional method of rolling common to many other Scarabaeini species. Species list & distribution: PDF

Scarabaeus catenatus GERSTAECKER

Scarabaeus catenatus GERSTAECKER - Tanzania (Scarabaeus S.STR)

Scarabaeus LINNAEUS – this genus includes the subgenera Scarabaeus S.STR; Scarabaeolus BALTHASAR (reinstated as a valid subgenus); Kheper JANSSENS; Sceliages WESTWOOD;  and Drepanopodus JANSSENS (following Forgie, Kryger, Bloomer & Scholtz (2006).

Scarabaeus S.STR – This subgenus includes medium and large sized species that (in contrast to many Scarabaeolus species) range into the wetter regions of Africa and the Palearctic. Most species feed exclusively on dung, although some also feed on carrion. The subgenus includes diurnal (S. galenus, S. westwoodi, S. rusticus) as well as nocturnal sand specialists (S. goryi, S. zambezianus). Species list & distribution: PDF

Scarabaeolus BALTHASAR – species belonging to this subgenus are morphologically characterized by their small size (relative to most Scarabaeini species), a second vestigial mesotibial spur and hunched body, which closely resembles that of Sceliages. Most Scarabaeolus species are confined to the arid and semi-arid regions of the southern afro-tropics. Examples include S. rubripennis (Namib desert) and S. flavicornis (Kalahari). A few species however have a more northerly distribution, such as S. Scholtzi, a flightless species occurring in coastal Somalia. Many Scarabaeolus species are opportunistic feeders, partitioning various types of dung as well as carrion in regions where dung is a scarce resource. Some species have been observed feeding on carcasses of millipedes and P. femoralis. Species list & distribution: PDF

Kheper lamarcki MACKLEAY - Mozambique (Kheper Janssens)

Kheper lamarcki MACKLEAY - Mozambique (Kheper Janssens)

Kheper JANSSENS – This subgenus includes many of the large roller species that are especially common in open and woodland savannas of eastern and southern Africa.  In these regions, Kheper may be extremely dominant and one or two species will often populate fresh pliable dung with a large number of individuals that heavily compete (also amongst themselves) for a share of the cake. Competition may be especially intense on  large  elephant droppings and rhino middens, where hundreds of individuals may compete for dung and mating opportunities. In many kheper (and Scarabaeus) species, the female often copulates with a number of males, one of which will assume a paternal role in the nesting process carried out in partnership with the female. Males will vigorously fight off intruders. The relocated and buried dung ball (at a depth of about 20cm) will then be used by the female to make one or more brood balls. After oviposition, the female will remain in the nest and care over her progeny until they emerge. Species list & distribution: PDF

Sceliages WESTWOOD – a subgenus that includes seven highly specialized species that  feed exclusively on millipedes, which they also use for nidification purposes. Sceliages species are apparently attracted to the defensive quinonous secretions released by injured or dead millipedes, which are relocated, buried and incorporated into one or more pear shaped, soil encrusted brood balls. In contrast to the conventional roller behavior common to many scarabaeini, Sceliages species relocate their food resources using their head and forelegs. With exception to one species ranging into the Democratic Republic of Congo (S. augias), Sceliages is restricted to southern Africa. Species list & distribution: PDF

Drepanopodus JANSSENS – a subgenus represented by two, almost identical roller species of medium size (D. costatus = 1.5cm)  endemic to the arid regions (Kalahari and Namib desert) of Southern Africa. D. proximus is confined to coastal  Namaqualand. Species list & distribution: PDF

 

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