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Climatic and biogeographical associations of southern African dung beetles

Climatic and biogeographical associations of southern African dung beetles

African Journal of Ecology 35(1): 10-38

ISSN/ISBN: 0141-6707

DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2028.1997.051-89051.x

Climatic and biogeographical associations of southern African dung beetles (Scarabaeinae, Coprinae) were analysed from a collection amassed between 1971 and 1986. Endemism to Africa south of 15 degree S was much greater in southwesterly climates (winter rainfall, bimodal spring/autumn rainfall, arid late summer rainfall) than to the north-east in the moist, mid-summer rainfall region. Major biogeographical groups centred to the south-west comprised predominantly southern African endemics, Western/Eastern Cape coast, Karoo, Karoo/Namib, northern Namibia and the south-western Kalahari. Biogeographical groups centred on the south-eastern highlands and the subtropical east coast (midsummer rainfall) also comprised predominantly southern African endemics. All other major groups centred to the north-east in the mid-summer rainfall region comprised predominantly species with widespread tropical biogeographical affiliations, pan-southern Africa but centred in the east, pan-mid-summer rainfall region, eastern mid-summer rainfall region, tropical east Zimbabwe/central Mocambique, subtropical/tropical game reserves (non-ruminant dung specialists). There were cross-climatic differences in taxonomic composition of the fauna. Within the winter rainfall region, percentage species composition of Scarabaeinae was greater whereas that of the coprine tribe, Onthophagini, was lower than within the other three climatic regions. Percentage species richness of most other tribes of Coprinae differed little between most climates but that of Scarabaeinae declined from west to east (Canthonini, Scarabaeini), east to west (Sisyphini) or to either side of the late summer rainfall region (Gymnopleurini).

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Accession: 030554813

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