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Journal Article

Male Reproductive Behaviour of the African Ball-Rolling Dung Beetle, Kheper Nigroaeneus (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae)

Penelope B. Edwards and H. H. Aschenborn
The Coleopterists Bulletin
Vol. 42, No. 1 (Mar., 1988), pp. 17-27
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4008556
Page Count: 11

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Topics: Female animals, Feces, Pheromones, Mating behavior, Beetles, Dung beetles, Species, Single status, Fats, Diameters
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Male Reproductive Behaviour of the African Ball-Rolling Dung Beetle, Kheper Nigroaeneus (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae)
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Abstract

Kheper nigroaeneus (Boheman) is a large diurnal, ball-rolling dung beetle, which occurs in warm to hot, summer rainfall areas of southern Africa. Construction of feeding and breeding balls is described, emphasising the adept use of pelleted dung. Pairs often co-operated in constructing a brood ball at the dung pad. Food balls rolled by individual males or females were smaller than brood balls rolled by individuals or pairs of beetles. Males released pheromone by adopting a headstand position and brushing their hind legs along the abdomen. Neither mating nor pheromone release were observed at the dung pad. Males released pheromone at sites where they had buried a brood ball or at sites where they had no dung or only the remains of a food ball. The significance of this reproductive strategy is discussed, and it is suggested that releasing pheromone at a site with no brood ball may enable a male to assess the reproductive status of females in the population before he makes a brood ball.

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