Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

FNZ 42 - Aphodiinae (Insecta: Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) - Collecting and conventions

Stebnicka, ZT 2001. Aphodiinae (Insecta: Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae). Fauna of New Zealand 42, 64 pages.
( ISSN 0111-5383 (print), ; no. 42. ISBN 0-478-09341-1 (print), ). Published 15 Jun 2001


Aphodiines are typically found on the ground, and may be obtained through searching beneath or in various kinds of dung, under objects such as plant debris, stones, and logs, and under loose bark of dead trees. Soft forceps can be used to pick up specimens. Individuals hide effectively in soil and debris if given the opportunity. Sifting leaf litter and riparian vegetation should produce members of groups such as Phycocus, Ataenius, and Saprosites. Pitfall traps can be quite productive for some species, and flight-intercept traps work well for those with fully developed wings. The label data of the specimens indicate that numerous examples from New Zealand were collected by these means.

Specimens are usually placed into 70% ethanol, and stored until they are prepared. A few species in New Zealand genera are large enough to be pinned, but most should be glued on triangular points in the American style or mounted on cards with a water-soluble glue in the European style. Point-mounted specimens are recommended, particularly for the members of Eupariini. Examination of the ventral surface of the body is important to confirm identification or even for identification. It is often impossible to recognise males of Ataenius and Saprosites when they are mounted on cards. The male genitalia and the labro-epipharyngeal structures should be examined until one is familiar with their subtle differences.

Preparation of aphodiines for dissection does not differ significantly from that for the other groups of beetles. The whole specimen should be placed in hot water for 15 minutes or boiled for at least 3 minutes, then placed in a small dish in a droplet of 70% ethanol. The male genitalia and labrum can be removed using a minute insect pin with a curved tip, grasped with a set of forceps, then placed into glycerol for clearing and examination. The parts may be stored in glycerol in a microcapsule pinned beneath the remounted specimen, or glued on a separate card using a water-soluble glue.


The two-letter code used at the beginning of records or in the summary of distribution refers to areas of New Zealand as defined by Crosby et al. (1998). Abbreviations of repositories are given through the text as follows:

AMNZ Auckland Institute and Museum, Auckland, New Zealand (J. W. Early)
ANIC Australian National Insect Collection, CSIRO, Canberra, A.C.T. Australia (J. F. Lawrence, T. A. Weir)
BMNH The Natural History Museum, London, U.K. (M. D. Kerley)
CMNO Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (H. F. Howden, F. Génier)
CMNZ Canterbury Museum, Christchurch, New Zealand (C. A. Muir)
DEIE Deutsches Entomologisches Institut, Eberswalde, Germany (L. Zerche)
ISEA Institute of Systematics and Evolution of Animals, Polish Academy of Sciences, Cracow, Poland (Z. T. Stebnicka)
LUNZ Lincoln University, Canterbury, New Zealand (R. M. Emberson, J. M. W. Marris)
MHNG Muséum d'histoire naturelle, Geneva, Switzerland (I. Lōbl, B. Merz, G. Cuccodoro)
MNHN Muséum National d'histoire naturelle, Paris, France (Y. Cambefort)
USNM National Museum of Natural History, Smithsoniam Institution, Washington, U.S.A. (G. House)
MONZ Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (formerly National Museum), Wellington, New Zealand (R. L. Palma)
NMPC National Museum, Prague, Czech Rep.(J. Jelínek)
NRSS Naturhistoriska Rijksmuseet, Stockholm, Sweden (D. Borisch)
NZAC N. Z. Arthropod Collection, Mt Albert Research Centre, Auckland, New Zealand (T. K. Crosby, R. A. B. Leschen)
HCOE Hope Department of Entomology, Oxford University, Oxford (M. Atkinson)
OMNZ Otago Museum, Otago, New Zealand (A. C. Harris, B. H. Patrick)
SAMA South Australian Museum, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia (E. G. Matthews)
SMNS Staatliches Museum fūr Naturkunde, Stuttgart, Germany (W. Schawaller)
SMTD Staatliches Museum fūr Tierkunde, Dresden, Germany (D. Ahrens)

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