Genus Sarophorus (Scarabaeidae, Scarabaeinae)

Genus Sarophorus Erichson, 1847

Sarophorus carinatus

Sarophorus carinatus


Sarophorus is a small genus of dung beetles (Scarabaeidae: Scarabaeinae) distributed mainly in Southern Africa. It was erected by Erichson (1847) for Pedaria tuberculata Castelnau on the grounds of the elytra being sinuate laterally near the base as opposed to being straight in Pedaria. Subsequently, three more species originally described in Pedaria were also placed in this genus: P. cicatricosa Péringuey, P. setulosa Brancsik, and P. costata Fåhraeus in Boheman.

Although Sarophorus is broadly classed as comprising tunnelling dung beetles, published observational support is lacking, and kleptocoprid habits cannot be ruled out. The genus comprises two species groups that may both show a bias to dense, more shaded vegetation or to cooler upland situations. The S. tuberculatus group comprises four species with distributions restricted to South Africa. Three of these species have been recorded primarily in the winter and bimodal rainfall regions, two in shrubland on deep coastal sands. The S. costatus group comprises six species with distributions from the Eastern Cape, bimodal rainfall region of South Africa, as far as northern Tanzania. The sparse information available on the biology of most species indicates a feeding preference for very old dung or carrion remains, which may imply detritus as a preferred food rather than dung. However, S. costatus, at least, has been recorded in good numbers in traps baited with cattle dung. It is also a soil generalist that shows a strong bias to more shaded patches in open woodland. As day-flying habits are shown by S. costatus, the remainder of the genus may show similar diel periodicity as they do not come to light. Nesting behaviour and the immature stages are unknown.


Erichson, W. F. (1847) Naturgeschichte des Insecten Deutschland. I. Coleoptera. In. Nicolaischen Buchhandlung, Berlin, pp. 641–800.

Frolov, A. V. (2004) New and little known species of the afrotropical dung beetle genus Sarophorus (Coleoptera, Scarabaeidae) and a phylogenetic analysis of the genus. Journal of Afrotropical Zoology, 1, 95-100.

Frolov, A. V. & Scholtz, C. H. (2003) Revision of the Afrotropical dung beetle genus Sarophorus Erichson (Coleoptera, Scarabaeidae). African Entomology, 11, 183-198.

Roets, F., Crous, C. & Pryke, J. (2017) Sarophorus diabolus sp. n. and Sarophorus frolovi sp. n.(Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae: Scarabaeinae) from South Africa. African Entomology, 25, 264-270.