The importance of monkey beetle (Scarabaeidae: Hopliini) pollination for Aizoaceae and Asteraceae in grazed and ungrazed areas at Paulshoek, Succulent Karoo, South Africa

Original Paper

Abstract

The relative importance of monkey beetles (Hopliini, Scarabeidae) as pollinators of Asteraceae and Aizoaceae in the Succulent Karoo as well as the influence of livestock grazing on their abundance and diversity was investigated. Hopliine beetles proved to be the, or among the, most abundant flower visitors of 12 investigated plant species. However, during single flower observations at three Aizoaceae species, bees (Apoidea), bee flies (Bombyliidae) and pollen wasps (Masaridae) were the most frequent flower visitors. However, monkey beetles carried the highest Asteraceae and Aizoaceae pollen loads, and are therefore considered to play a vital role in the pollination of these two families. Abundance, species richness and diversity of Hopliini did not appear to be heavily affected by livestock grazing. Annual variation in the composition of monkey beetle populations was more dramatic. Still, some species showed higher abundances on heavily grazed rangeland while others only occurred under low grazing pressure. It is presumed that changes in the composition of the vegetation, especially the observed decrease of perennial plants in favour of annuals and geophytes (Todd and Hoffman 1999) could in turn affect the composition of monkey beetle assemblages.

Keywords

Hopliini Beetle pollination Pollen load Livestock grazing Colour preferences 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biocentre Klein Flottbek Botanical GardenUniversity of HamburgHamburgGermany
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyUniversity of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa

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