Genus Frankenbergerius (Scarabaeidae, Scarabaeinae)

Genus Frankenbergerius Balthasar, 1938


Synonym: Pseudocoptorhina Ferreira, 1954

Type-species: Frankenbergerius mirabilis Balthasar, 1938

Frankenbergerius gomesi, male

Frankenbergerius gomesi, male

Frankenbergerius comprises strongly convex, uniformly black to dark brown beetles, in which the elytra are smooth to tuberculate. The head and pronotum are densely punctuate and pubescent (except for F. barratti Waterhouse), although in some species most of the pronotal disc is rugose. The mesosternum is short and broad with the distance between the mesocoxae more than three times the length of the mesosternum. Males differ from females in having a bifurcated spur on each anterior tibia. Males of most species also have curious horn-like anterior clypeal processes. Females of some species resemble representatives of Coptorhina Hope but the two genera can immediately be distinguished by the shape of the metepisternon, which is triangular and widest towards the anterior in Frankenbergerius whereas it is somewhat rectangular and widest towards the posterior in Coptorhina.

Distribution. The genus includes seven small to medium-sized species restricted to South Africa. Their distribution extends from the winter rainfall region of the southwestern Cape and northwards from the Eastern Cape along the coastline and eastern escarpment into the summer rainfall region as far as the Soutpansberg in Limpopo Province. The taxa are mostly associated with dense vegetation but the habitat preferences are probably species specific. In particular, three species are apparently endemic to the winter rainfall region of the Western Cape (F. opacus Frolov and Scholtz, F. nitidus Frolov and Scholtz, F. nanus (Péringuey)) where the latter two species were recorded from indigenous shrubland. The other four species have all been recorded primarily from forest localities in the summer rainfall region. F. armatus (Boheman) was recorded primarily in forests from the Eastern Cape to the Soutpansberg with subspecies associated with lower-lying southerly and higher-lying northerly localities. The other three species occur primarily in forest from the Eastern Cape to the Drakensberg and Magaliesberg (F. forcipatus (Harold)), in highland forest and grassland in the northern highveld (F. barratti (Waterhouse)), or in lower-lying forest and riverine bush from KwaZulu-Natal to Mpumalanga (F. gomesi (Ferreira)) (Fig. 11).

Biology. Little is known about the biology of Frankenbergerius species. Several records imply a close association with mushrooms. F. armatus tuberculatus Frolov and Scholtz was collected from mushroom-baited traps. Furthermore, the two clypeal teeth of some species are extended into extremely elongate processes that may assist cutting and manipulation of fungi. However, the members of the genus are probably generalist saprophages as they have been recorded from several different types of rotten organic matter. For instance, F. armatus armatus (Boheman) was collected in rotten Cussonia fruit and F. gomesi is attracted to carrion. Frankenbergerius specimens are not attracted to light and are presumably day-flyers. The nesting behaviour and immature stages are unknown.


Davis, A. L. V., Frolov, A. V. & Scholtz, C. H. 2008. The African Dung Beetle Genera. Pretoria: Protea Book House.

Balthasar, V. 1938. Neue Gattungen und Arten der sudamerikanischen Coprophagen. Entomologische Blatter, 34(4):210-223.

Ferreira, M. 1954. Monografia dos Escarabaeideos da Africa do Sul, V parte, No 1, Generos Coptorhina Hope and Pseudocoptorhina nov. Boletim da Sociedade de Estudos de Mocambique, 87:1-17.

Frolov, A.V., Scholtz, C.H. 2005. Revision of the southern African genus Frankenbergerius Balthasar with description of new taxa (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Scarabaeinae). Journal of Natural History, 39(25): 2355-2377.