I am sure there are regional differences on the application and understanding of a common name. Plus, it sounds like the reviewer was not a beetle person. I believe in the USA, much of Europe, and some of Africa, chafers is well-understood. May beetles in the USA usually connotes Phyllophaga species or Melolontha species in Europe. I think chafers is well-established in the ent literature, and an entomological reader will understand your meaning. If the journal or the readership is not strictly entomological, then there could be a lapse in understanding. Using May beetles at least gets transmits the idea of “beetles”, but I would never apply that term to sericines. So, there is a conundrum. I would lobby the editor to continue with chafers and explain this is a reasonably well-understood term in our discipline. There are, in many cases, when we simply have to use a discipline-specific term to get out meaning across.

Good luck.


Brett C. Ratcliffe

Curator & Professor

Systematics Research Collections

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University of Nebraska

Lincoln, NE 68588-0514  U.S.A.

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From: Dirk Ahrens <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To: Scarab Beetle Taxonomy Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Friday, July 3, 2015 at 8:56 AM
To: "[log in to unmask]" <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Native English speakers: seeking for an alternative expression as common name for chafers (Scarabaeidae: Melolonthinae)

Hi All,

in a quite prominent biological journal I used the term "chafers" ["We studied species limits in southern African chafers (Scarabaeidae: Sericini)..."], but referees asked me: "What are chafers? Do they have a common name (I know they are beetles, but many readers will not)."
So, does anyone of you have a better idea? Maybe "May beetles"? 



On 15 Jan 2013, at 20:04, Hector Gasca wrote:

Dear colleagues
In the following link, you will find a new scarab publication from Colombia


Héctor Jaime Gasca Alvarez
Biólogo - Entomólogo
T. P. 79792640
Cel: (571) 300 331 33 28
Fax  (571) 648 36 62
Bogotá, Colombia

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