n African Entomology - A dung beetle survey of selected Gauteng nature reserves : implications for conservation of the provincial scarabaeine fauna

Volume 13, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1021-3589



A quantitative dung beetle survey (Coleoptera : Scarabaeidae : Scarabaeinae) was conducted in six Gauteng nature reserves (Tswaing, Leeuwfontein, Roodeplaat, Ezemvelo, Abe Bailey, Suikerbosrand) representative of the provincial range in environmental conditions. The study provided a provincial species inventory that has been tested for completeness by comparison with museum reference material. It also permitted an analysis of major influences on regional (altitude, annual rainfall) and local (soil and vegetation type) patterns of species abundance. The survey recorded a total of 152 species. Although a further 29 species were represented in reference collections, their absence from the present work was probably due to habitat, food, or temporal specializations. Multivariate analyses (clustering, MDS) of species abundance data formed six clusters, each comprising exclusively the sites in single reserves. This indicates that regional between-reserve faunal differences are greater than local within reserve differences, thus demonstrating the value of each reserve. In a hierarchical analysis of oblique factors, five out of seven statistically defined clusters comprised exclusively the sites in single reserves with Suikerbosrand split in two. These clusters were variously correlated with nine extended factors. Along seven factors, correlations were unique or essentially unique to single reserves and were fairly high, particularly at intermediate altitude. Along the remaining two shared factors, there were opposing trends in that correlations either decreased with higher altitude or decreased with lower altitude. Thus, each cluster shows three coefficients of determination, one representing the proportion of variance due to shared highland faunal influence, one representing that due to shared lowland faunal influence and the third representing that due to unique local faunal composition. The analyses identify the transition from lowland to highland-dominated faunas, the relative faunal distinctiveness of each reserve, and omissions from the provincial reserve system.

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