Appendix Supplementary information covering useful scarab biology and taxonomy resources

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Appendix 1. Supplementary information covering useful scarab biology and taxonomy resources.

Queries to JduGH on African scarab pests indicated a need to provide a starting point for non-scarab specialist to available scarab resources, which is included below as supplementary information to the review.

Scarab beetle specialists

The ‘Scarab Workers World Directory’ provides an excellent resource of World scarab taxonomists and biologists. The “Scarab Beetle Taxonomy Discussion List” (…) “… is for professionals, amateurs, and students interested in scarab beetle taxonomy. It is useful for posting questions, gathering information, and noting new discoveries regarding scarab systematics, biology, and nomenclature.” Thus sending a question to this list provides one with immediate access to many specialists working in this field World Wide.

Scarab literature

Paul Schoolmeester’s website provides an alphabetical list of thousands of scarab related papers. Un-copyrighted papers are downloadable, and Paul can be e-mailed for many of the others as he maintains a large PDF reprint collection. Obviously, university or research based professional researchers have access to online search engines, but the advantage of those listed above is that one only requires internet access, rather than library subscriptions to journal databases. Additionally, Schoolmeester’s site hosts obscure, gray literature and older literature that is difficult to obtain.

Important larval references

A list of scarab papers by Dr. Paul Ritcher is available at These papers by Ritcher (1938, 1949, 1958, 1966 & 1967) are equally useful to anyone interested in white grub taxonomy in southern Africa. Richter’s work, especially Richter (1966), directs one to much of the earlier scarab larval research including coverage of larval terminology.

Catalogues and checklists

Dalla Torre (1912a,b,c & 1913) provided in Junk’s Coleopterorum Catalogus a now outdated, but nevertheless vital catalogue of melolonthine genera, species and their type localities. Evans (2003) compiled ‘A checklist of the New World chafers’, and Smith & Evans (2005) updated this with ‘A supplement to the checklist of the New World chafers … with notes on their tribal classification’. Although these last two papers do not cover the African fauna, they provide valuable bibliographies of literature relevant for an understanding of the World melolonthine fauna. An electronic checklist (Evans & Smith 2009) combining these two papers is available from Bezděk (2004) catalogued the Diplotaxini of the Old World. Ahrens (2007a, b) designated type species for Afrotropical Ablaberini and Sericini and provided an updated catalogue of the Palaearctic Sericini which includes many North African taxa. Lacroix (2010) covered most of the known African leaf chafer genera and species (adults only) including many useful illustrations, maps and keys to taxa. Lacroix (2010) included a checklist of the described species of Schizonycha, and thus Pope (1960) remains the primary source for identification of this difficult and diverse genus, which includes many sporadic pest species (Table 3). Smith’s (2006) review of the family-group names for the Superfamily Scarabaeoidea (Coleoptera), which included corrections to its nomenclature and a current classification, provides a high-level classification for the understanding of scarab taxa within a tribal and subtribal classification.

Keys to taxa

Presently all-encompassing keys to the known genera and species of African leaf chafers do not exist. The most recent generic revisionary work should be used for species level keys, for example, Harrison (2009) for Asthenopholis, Harrison (2014b) for South African Pegylis, and Lacroix (2010) for many other African melolonthines. Additionally, clear habitus photographs can be e-mailed to the first author for a generic or tribal level diagnosis. Péringuey (1904) includes keys to many southern African taxa. Burgeon (1945a, b 1946a, b) provided useful keys to the Ablaberini, Diplotaxini, Melolonthini and Pachydemini, respectively.

Collection and preservation of scarab larvae and adults

Reliable species level identification is based on adult or larval specimens. A few of the better known species, e.g., P. sommeri, can be identified from a digital habitus photograph, but this is one of the exceptions. A comparative series of 10 to 20 individuals per morphospecies, ideally including male and female adults should be collected, allowing for analysis of morphological variation within a species. A similar number of larvae will provide sufficient material for their dissection, and subsequent deposition in museum collections. Primary collecting data should include: Country, Province, Locality, latitude and longitude, date, collector’s name, and as much other biologically relevant information as possible, e.g., crop, type of damage, extent of damage, etc.
Larvae can be killed by placing them in boiled water for 3-5 mins, which denatures their proteins allowing for better preservation once placed into 70% ethanol. Adults can be frozen, and then kept frozen, or dried, or also placed into 70% ethanol. For molecular vouchers, grub heads can be cut off and preserved in absolute ethanol, while the body can be boiled and then stored in 70% ethanol. Live adults can be killed in absolute ethanol, which is then replenished 12-24 hours later with new absolute ethanol and then kept in a fridge or freezer before DNA extraction.
Appendix 1 supplementary material. Additional references not cited in the review article but referred to in this online appendix.
Burgeon, L. (1945a) Les Ablaberini du Congo belge (Coleopt. Scarab. Melolonthinae). Revue de Zoologie et de Botanique Africaines 38(3-4), 212-251.

Burgeon, L. (1945b) Les Diplotaxina du Congo belge (Coleopt. Scarab. Melolonthinae). Revue de Zoologie et de Botanique Africaines 39(1), 1-23.

Burgeon, L. (1946a) Melolonthini et Pachydemini du Congo belge (suite) (Coleopt. Scarab. Melolonthinae). Revue de Zoologie et de Botanique Africaines 39(3), 230-273.

Burgeon, L. (1946b) Melolonthini et Pachydemini du Congo belge (suite). Revue de Zoologie et de Botanique Africaines 39(4), 339-366.

Dalla Torre, K.W. von (1912b) Fam. Scarabaeidae. Subfam. Melolonthinae. II. Coleopterorum catalogus, vol. 20, pars 47, Scarabaeidae; Melolonthidae II. pp. 85-134.

Dalla Torre, K.W. von (1912c) Fam. Scarabaeidae. Subfam. Melolonthinae. III. Coleopterorum catalogus, vol. 20, pars 49, Scarabaeidae; Melolonthidae III. pp. 135-290.

Dalla Torre, K.W. von (1913) Fam. Scarabaeidae. Subfam. Melolonthinae. IV. Coleopterorum catalogus, vol. 20, pars 50, Scarabaeidae; Melolonthidae IV. pp. 291-450.

Ritcher, P.O. (1938) A field key to Kentucky white grubs. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 11(1), 24-27.

Ritcher, P.O. (1949) Larvae of Melolonthinae with keys to tribes, genera, and species (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae). Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station Bulletin 537, 1-36 + plates i-iv.

Ritcher, P.O. (1967) Keys for identifying larvae of Scarabaeoidea (Coleoptera) to the family and subfamily. California Department of Agriculture, Occasional Papers No. 10, 1-8.

Schoolmeesters, P. (2015) (accessed 21 February 2015).

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