Conservation of heterogeneity among dung beetles in the Maputaland Centre of Endemism, South Africa

Berndt J. van Rensburg, Melodie A. McGeoch, Steven L. Chown, Albert S van Jaarsveld

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67 Citations (Scopus)


In southern Africa the Maputaland Centre is one of the most significant, though less well-known, centres of biotic endemism. Here we examine variation in dung beetle assemblages between habitats and between reserves on two Maputaland reserves (Tembe Elephant Park and Sileza Nature Reserve). Dung beetle assemblages were found to be homogeneous within habitat types and within reserves, but assemblages differed between habitat types (Sand Forest and Mixed Woodland). There was, however, significant between-reserve heterogeneity in dung beetle assemblages for each particular habitat type. Given that there are significant differences in both dung beetles and plants, it is clear that these forests must be conserved in both Tembe and Sileza, especially because of increasing damage by elephants to Sand Forests in Tembe. We identify dung beetle indicator species that are specific to each habitat type in each reserve, and detector species that can be used to monitor changes in Sand Forests in those reserves.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-153
Number of pages9
JournalBiological Conservation
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Detector species
  • Dung beetle assemblages
  • Endemism
  • Indicator species

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