Well, in chronological order, and order they appear in the work, the first dung beetle described in Systema Naturae (1758) is Typhaeus typhoeus (Linnaeus, 1758)- a common European three horned geotrupid. The first ‘true’ dung beetle (Scarabaeinae) is Copris lunaris (Linnaeus, 1758). Obviously they were all described in ‘Scarabaeus’.


The first African species of true dung beetle is Scarabaeus sacer, but that is North African. The first species that occurs in the Afrotropical region is Heliocopris gigas.


This is all available from Biodiversity Heritage Library, e.g. here




best wishes





Maxwell V. L. Barclay
Curator and Collection Manager
Entomology: Coleoptera & Hemiptera
Department of Life Sciences
Natural History Museum
London SW7 5BD
T: 0207 942 5911
M: 07766331806
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From: Scarab Beetle Taxonomy Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of James Harrison
Sent: 07 March 2017 13:05
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: First described dung beetle species for the World and Afrotropical Region?


Dear Scarab Workers


Does anyone know the first validly described dung beetle (Scarabaeidae: Scarabaeinae) species for the World and secondarily for the Afrotropical Region? Common sense would suggest that it would be a one of the larger bodied species but this may not necessarily be the case. Please share your insights with me if you have looked into this, or have any species / genera which come to mind as being good candidates for further investigation. My own search has started within genera like Scarabaeus and Heliocopris but I am sure that there are many others which should also be looked at.


Many thanks indeed!



James Harrison (Zoological Curator & Lecturer) Ph.D.

Wits Life Sciences Museum (WLSM)

School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences (AP&ES)

University of the Witwatersrand, Private Bag 3, WITS 2050, South Africa

Tel +27(0)11-717-6464     Fax +27(0)11-717-6494

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