The African Dung Beetle Genera, by Adrian L.V. Davis, Andrey V. Frolov and Clarke H. Scholtz
Adrian L.V. Davis, Andrey V. Frolov and Clarke H. Scholtz are members of the Scarab Research Group of the University of Pretoria and have done the research for this book about the African Dung Beetle Genera.
Scarabaeine beetles are only one of several dung-feeding groups found in dung in Africa, although they are by far the most dominant. Some other beetles are also dung feeders, such as the closely related Aphodiinae or the distant Hydrophilidae, both of which are superficially similar to some scarabaeine dung beetles. Other dung-frequenting beetles mainly prey on fly eggs and maggots, or on other dung beetles. They vary in size from very small to quite large, and are either elongate and parallel-sided with very short elytra (Staphylinidae), or shiny and mostly black, with large protruding mandibles and elytra not quite covering the tip of the abdomen (Histeridae). Some of the larger species of the latter are voracious dung beetle predators. This book focuses on only the "true" dung beetles of the Scarabaeidae subfamily, the Scarabaeinae of Africa, but, as will become clear, many "true" dung beetles never go near dung, and have habits quite different from their dung-frequenting relatives. This is especially so with regard to the unique African dung beetle fauna, the largest and most diverse in the world, with about 44% of the world genera (101) and about 37% (2120) of its species.
This book uses the genus as a focal point because, firstly, the state of knowledge about most individual species that make up the genera is too specialized or too poor to allow for anything but a highly specialized or very superficial treatment of the fauna; and secondly, a genus is made up of a group of closely related species with largely similar appearance and habits, so that general patterns are similar amongst the members. However, a complicating factor is that some genera are made up of only a single species (called monotypic genera), while others may consist of several to hundreds of species. The low number of species in a genus might be the result of the extinctions of their relatives over time, resulting in so-called relictual species, whereas high numbers of species in a genus result from an evolutionary explosion in response to changing climatic conditions that break up populations and create foci of change.
The genera are arranged in the book according to their tribes, representing the next hierarchical level of classification and, as the species in a genus are regarded as representing a closely related group, so the genera in a tribe are thought to be closely related to each other. In some genera a great deal of detail is presented on species groups, their relationships and their geographical distribution. This may appear tedious to the nonspecialist, but the information has been accumulated from hundreds of different published sources, and the authors' personal observations over a collective period of about 70 years of dung beetle research, and provides the first synthesis of the information on African dung beetles that is readily available. The authors have published a total of about 150 research papers on dung beetles and their relatives in internationally accredited journals, and much of the relevant information contained in these is introduced into the appropriate text sections.
We trust that reading this book will provide the reader with as much pleasure as it has afforded the authors during the research that led to this book, and to writing it. We are passionate about dung beetles and we hope that some of that passion which is reflected in the pages of this book will inspire further interest in this incredibly rich and diverse fauna, about which we actually still know so little.
This is an extract from the book: The African Dung Beetle Genera, by : Adrian L.V. Davis, Andrey V. Frolov and Clarke H. Scholtz.
Book title: The African Dung Beetle Genera
Authors: Adrian L.V. Davis; Andrey V. Frolov; Clarke H. Scholtz
Publisher: Protea Boekhuis
Pretoria, South Africa 2008
Hardcover, 22x29 cm, 276 pages, many photos and maps, English
Davis, Adrian L.V. und Frolov, Andrey V. und Scholtz, Clarke H. im Namibiana-Buchangebot
The African Dung Beetle Genera is an account on each of the 101 dung beetle genera known from Africa.
Insects of Southern Africa he scientist offers general information, beautiful colour illustrations and a glossary.