Africa, the continent of the Scarab beetles, will soon benefit from the work of a new task force. The Group Catharsius has just assembled from a group of dedicated individuals interested in developing an identification tool for Africas yet to be better known Scarab fauna.
Recent collecting efforts in West Africa and taxonomic studies by members of Catharsius including Yves Cambefort, Philippe Moretto, Jean-François Josso, Patrick Prévost, Olivier Montreuil, Patrice Bordat and François Génier, have generated a large quantity of specimens with precise distributional and ecological data.
This material, in addition to material held in museums, will serve as the basis for a published synthesis of current taxonomical, distributional and ecological knowledge of Scarabaeinae and Aphodiinae inhabiting West Africa. The group aims to resolve most taxonomic problems for the area through the study of Scarabaeinae and Aphodiinae throughout the entire Afrotropical realm.
The multi-year project will begin by data basing current holdings of Scarabaeinae and Aphodiinae in order to identify areas of West Africa most in need of sampling by modern techniques. Catharsius members and interested partners will then target these areas in a series of collecting expeditions.
Computerization of the newly acquired specimens will be performed according to standards developed by ScarabNet, with the goal of making the pooled data available to the entire ScarabNet community. Ultimately, the project will result in a monographic publication describing all known taxa, providing identification keys, and illustrating distributional and ecological data.