Climatic and biogeographical associations of Kenyan and northern Tanzanian dung beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae)

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:1993
Authors:A. L. V. Davis, Dewhurst C. F.
Journal:African Journal of Ecology
Keywords:Biogeography- (Population-Studies), Climatology- (Environmental-Sciences), Digestive-System (Ingestion-and-Assimilation), Ecology- (Environmental-Sciences), Economic-Entomology, Pest-Assessment-Control-and-Management, Physiology-, Systematics-and-Taxonomy

The equatorial East African highlands were uplifted in the Pliocene, and together with the associated arid lowlands, they delimit several endemic climatic regions. They also form the eastern and northern limits, respectively, of climate types extending westwards across Central and West Africa and southwards into Southern Africa. This climatic convergence made East Africa an ideal area to survey for dung beetles (Scarabaeinae, Copinae) useful as control agents of dung-breeding flies in Australia where a similar range fox climatic regions occurs. Similarities in climatic range between the 104 species showing the broadest frequency distributions were determined using cluster analysis and depicted on a dendrogram. Three groups were defined at the 25% level of similarity. One group comprised a single montane species endemic to East Africa. A second group (41 spp.) was numerically dominated by East Africa endemics and associated with endemic East African lowland and Southern African climate types. The third group (62 spp.) was primarily associated with upland climate types. Three upland subgroups, defined at the 43% level of similarity, were dominated by East African endemics and were associated both with endemic East African highland and more broad-based climate types. A fourth subgroup was dominated by climate generalists showing widespread tropical and temperate biogeographical associations. Overall, the most common distribution patterns were East African endemism, range restricted to East and Southern Africa, and pan-African distribution. On the criterion of widespread distribution, about a third of the East African fauna was especially suitable for introduction into Austrailian for fly control.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith