Summer activity patterns of nocturnal Scarabaeoidea (Coleoptera) of the southern tablelands of New South Wales

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2007
Authors:M. J. Steinbauer, Weir T. A.
Journal:Australian Journal of Entomology
Keywords:Bolboceratidae, Christmas beetles, cockchafers, pasture scarabs, Scarabaeidae, Trogidae

Australia has a rich diversity of Scarabaeoidea; however, little is known about the majority of them. Because adults of Anoplognathus, Automolius, Heteronychus, Heteronyx and Liparetrus in particular are reliant upon eucalypts, a number of bluegum plantation companies supported the commencement of research into the biology and ecology of scarabs of economic significance to them. Consequently, it was decided that the occurrences of species endemic to this area would be studied and it was assumed that information on the nocturnal species in the aforementioned genera would be obtained. From late November 2003 until late February 2004, the abundances of Scarabaeoidea caught in two light traps that partition insects caught on a given night into seven time periods each of 1.75 h duration were recorded. A total of 48 263 scarabs representing 21 genera were caught. Within the 14 species caught most often, six types of summer activity pattern were apparent: late spring to early summer (Austral- obolbus gayndahensis), early to mid-summer (Scitala sericans), mid-summer only (Sericesthis ignota), mid- to late summer (Acrossidius tasmaniae, Aphodius lividus, Heteronyx chlorotica, Het. praecox and Antitrogus morbillosus), late summer only (Ataenius picinus) and all summer (Anoplognathus pallidicollis, Phyllotocus macleayi, Sericesthis geminata, Ser. micans and Ser. nigrolineata). Abundances of nine species peaked between 21:30 and 23:15 h (Aph. lividus, Phy. macleayi, Het. chlorotica, Sci. sericans, Ser. geminata, Ser. micans, Ser. nigrolineata and possi- bly also Ant. morbillosus), three were most abundant between 19:45 and 21:30 h (Ano. pallidicollis, Ser. ignota and possibly also Ata. picinus), another two were most abundant from 19:45 to 23:15 h (Acr. tasmaniae and Het. praecox) and Aus. gayndahensis was most abundant between 23:15 and 01:00 h. Of course, it is not just a knowledge of the identity of the species and the timing of their occurrence that are important when making insect management decisions, but also the size of popu- lation needed to inflict economically significant loss. It is now beholden upon bluegum plantation companies to support further research to determine the relationships between light trap catches of eucalypt-feeding scarabs, tree age and/or size and level of defoliation in order to improve their confidence in this method of monitoring over ground surveys.

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