Euoniticellus africanus

Beneficial

Common name(s)

greater sandy dung beetle

Taxonomy

Family: Scarabaeidae Subfamily: Scarabaeinae Genus: Euoniticellus Species: Euoniticellus africanus (Harold, 1873)

Adult diagnosis

Total body length 7.0–13.0 cm (0.26–0.51 in). Body oblong, somewhat dorsoventrally compressed; may be caked in dung. Color tan to grayish-brown with dark brown markings. Clypeus with distinct ridge at anterior margin in male; anterior ridge lacking in female. Frontoclypeal suture with inverted V-shaped ridge in male; female lacking ridge. Ocular canthus quadrately produced. Pronotum of male somewhat hump-like when viewed laterally. Tibia of female robust; male tibia comparatively gracile.

Larval diagnosis

Undescribed: For Scarabaeinae (Ritcher, 1966): Grub C-shaped, hump-backed, cylindrical, and cream-colored. Maxilla with galea and lacinia distinctly separate. Antennae with 4 or 5 apparent segments. Distal segment of antenna much reduced in size. Epipharynx with tormae united mesally, anterior phoba present. Legs 2-segmented. Anal opening surrounded by fleshy lobes.

Native range

Southern Africa. This species is native to southern Africa where it is known from Lesotho, Mozambique, and South Africa (Tyndale-Biscoe, 1990). It has been introduced to Australia (Tyndale-Biscoe, 1990).

Plant host(s)

None. Euoniticellus spp. feed on dung as both adults and larvae (Hull et al., 2013).

Life history

Poorly known. Adults of this species prefer a slightly cooler climate than the related intermediate sandy dung beetle (Euoniticellus intermedius) (Edwards, 2007). In related species of Euoniticellus, adults are diurnal dung tunnelers (Blume, 1984). Working together, a male and female dig a burrow beneath a dung source. Dung is used to line the burrow and create a brood mass. The brood mass is created at the end of the burrow and impregnated with a single egg. Multiple brood masses, each with its own egg, can occupy the same burrow. Larvae develop within the mass where they feed on the dung (Blume, 1984).

Pest potential

None. This species recycles dung and is beneficial for ranching and farming in Hawaii. Being a dung feeder, this species poses no threat to crop or ornamental plants. Additionally, this species is not a threat to native dung beetles because none are known from Hawaii or Guam.

Status in Hawaii

Established. This dung beetle was intentionally released in 1974 at Parker Ranch on Big Island to help control populations of the horn fly (Haematobia irritans), a biting pest of livestock (Nakao and Funasaki, 1976). Nishida (2002) reported it as being established on the Big Island.

Status in Guam

Not established or recorded. There are no records of this species from Guam.

Potential distribution and dispersal pathway

In Hawaii, this species was intentionally introduced.

Similar species

The greater sandy dung beetle (Euoniticellus africanus) is one of two Euoniticellus species known from Hawaii, the other recorded species being the very similar intermediate sandy dung beetle (Euoniticellus intermedius). The two scarabs can be separated by examination of the frons (E. africanus male lacking a horn and female with a V-shaped anterior ridge versus E. intermedius male with a horn on frons and female with slightly curved transverse ridge on the frons).

Other names (synonyms)

Oniticellus africanus Harold

Report your observation

Report your observation of this beneficial species at our iNaturalist project.

Euoniticellus africanus female; photo by E.L. Engasser

Euoniticellus africanus female; photo by E.L. Engasser

Euoniticellus africanus female; photo by E.L. Engasser

Euoniticellus africanus female; photo by E.L. Engasser

Euoniticellus africanus male head; photo by E.L. Engasser

Euoniticellus africanus male head; photo by E.L. Engasser

Euoniticellus africanus male head; photo by E.L. Engasser

Euoniticellus africanus male head; photo by E.L. Engasser

Euoniticellus africanus female head; photo by E.L. Engasser

Euoniticellus africanus female head; photo by E.L. Engasser

Euoniticellus africanus female head; photo by E.L. Engasser

Euoniticellus africanus female head; photo by E.L. Engasser

distribution map for Euoniticellus africanus

distribution map for Euoniticellus africanus