New taxa of relictual Canthonini dung beetles (Scarabaeidae: Scarabaeinae) utilizing rock hyrax middens as refuges in South-western Africa

In: Insect Systematics & Evolution


Presently 21 canthonine genera with 89 species are presently known from Africa. In this paper we describe three new species collected in rock hyraxes (Procavia capensis (Pallas)) dung middens. They are Dicranocara tatasensis Deschodt and Scholtz sp. n., Dicranocara inexpectata Deschodt and Scholtz sp. n., and Namakwanus davisi Deschodt and Scholtz sp. n. In addition, we describe the immature stages and provide new information on the biology of Dicranocara deschodti Frolov and Scholtz and Namakwanus davisi. The known distribution of all the south-west African endemic canthonine species is also updated. Additionally, a 743 base pair long fragment of the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I (CO I) gene is used to construct a molecular phylogeny for the genus Dicranocara Frolov and Scholtz. In the resultant trees, D. tatasensis, D. inexpectata and D. deschodti form three monophyletic groups with high bootstrap support. Applying a molecular clock to the sequence divergences dates the separation of the three species to 3.2 – 2.47 million years before present.

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