The subfamily Scarabaeinae (Scarabaeidae) comprises more than 5000 species
belonging to 12 tribes and some 234 genera (Cambefort, Y. 1991. Biogeography and evolution
// Hanski, I. & Cambefort, Y (Ed.). Dung beetle ecology. 51-67), however the classification of the subfamily is not well established yet. Some
smaller tribes (i.e. Gymnopleurini, Eurysterini, Sisyphini) are very distinctive and there
is little doubt about their monophyly, while others (i.e. Dichotomiini and Canthonini) are
apparently polyphyletic. The classification will definitely be modified in the near future
since many workers are currently doing research in the group's phylogeny. However the
results published by now are too contradictory to provide the grounds for sound classification.
Scarabaeinae are especially diverse in tropics where they dominate another large group
of dung beetles Aphodiinae. Africa has the richest fauna of scarabaeines with more
than 2000 species of 107 genera of 9 tribes. However, generic rank of some taxa, especially
those in the tribes Onthophagini and Onitini, is debatable.
The photographs below represent some genera of different tribes of the Scarabaeinae.
These images were prepared as a part of the Scarabaeinae Phylogeny programme of the
University of Pretoria, South Africa, and published on our site with the permission of the
leader, Prof. Clarke Scholtz.
MRAC Musee royal de l'Afrique centrale, Tervuren
SANC National Insect Collection, Pretoria
UPSA University of Pretoria insect collection, Pretoria