Caspian lowland desert

Contribution to study of Lower Volga center of scarab beetle diversity in Russia

Figure 1. Fixed sands near Dosang, Astrakhan Province, Russia.Frolov, A. V. & Akhmetova, L. A. 2013. A contribution to the study of the Lower Volga center of scarab beetle diversity in Russia: checklist of the tribe Aphodiini (Coleoptera, Scarabaeidae) of Dosang environs. Biodiversity Data Journal, 1: e979.

The field sampling of the Aphodiini scarab beetles in Dosang environs (Astrakhan Province, European Russia) in 2006–2012 resulted in the collection of 44 species. All but one of them belong to Aphodius Hellwig ( sensu lato). This is apparently the richest recorded local Aphodiini fauna in Russia. The high Aphodiini diversity in the area can be explained by the long vegetative season with high effective heat sum, large livestock providing abundant food resources throughout the year, and location in the transition belt between Volga-Akhtuba Floodplain and Desert floristic districts. The core fauna consists of mesophilous species widely distributed in the Palearctic region and confined to the intrazonal habitats. Other species have ranges mostly limited to the steppe, semidesert, and desert zones.