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New species of Eriopeltastes Burmeister & Schaum, 1840 (Coleoptera, Scarabaeidae, Cetoniinae, Trichiini) from South Africa.

Ricchiardi E, Perissinotto R - Zookeys (2014)

Bottom Line: This is only the fifth out of 12 known species in this genus for which the female is known.The species appears to be restricted to areas within or in the immediate vicinities of two marginal nature reserves, Karkloof and Blinkwater, in a grassland habitat that is regarded as one of the most threatened in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal.Despite its acknowledged importance as centre of endemism the area is currently in a precarious state of large-scale degradation.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Corso A. Tassoni 79/4, 10143 Torino, Italy.

ABSTRACT
Both male and female of a new species of Eriopeltasttes Burmeister & Schaum, 1840, E. (E.) ornatus Ricchiardi, sp. n., are described from the mistbelt grassland of KwaZulu-Natal. Sexual dimorphism is extreme in this genus, with females being brachypterous, fossorial and entirely black to dark brown in general body colour. This is only the fifth out of 12 known species in this genus for which the female is known. The species appears to be restricted to areas within or in the immediate vicinities of two marginal nature reserves, Karkloof and Blinkwater, in a grassland habitat that is regarded as one of the most threatened in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal. Despite its acknowledged importance as centre of endemism the area is currently in a precarious state of large-scale degradation.

No MeSH data available.


View of Karkloof, with grassland patches at the margin of mistbelt forest in the vicinities of the local colony of Eriopeltastes (Eriopeltastes) ornatus Ricchiardi, sp. n. (Photo: Kelson Camp).
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Figure 4: View of Karkloof, with grassland patches at the margin of mistbelt forest in the vicinities of the local colony of Eriopeltastes (Eriopeltastes) ornatus Ricchiardi, sp. n. (Photo: Kelson Camp).

Mentions: Unlike the Drakensberg range, which is currently adequately protected through the Maloti Drakensberg Transfrontier World Heritage Site and includes a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance, the KZN Midlands has been exposed to large-scale degradation, mainly through agroforestry, inappropriate cultivation, uncontrolled fires, overgrazing by livestock and invasion of alien vegetation (Low and Rebelo 1996). The natural vegetation types where Eriopeltastes (Eriopeltastes) ornatus Ricchiardi, sp. n. is found are classified as Mooi River Highland Grassland (type Gs 8) and Midlands Mistbelt Grassland (type Gs 9), which are part of the Sub-Escarpment Grassland Bioregion of the Grassland Biome (Mucina and Rutherford 2006). In the Karkloof Nature Reserve, rainfall averages over 1000 mm pa, with most occurring in summer. As a result, the western section of the reserve consists mainly of Southern Mistbelt Forest (type FOz 3), with patches of sourveld grassland interspersed with Protea tree species (Figure 4). The lower reaches of the Karkloof Nature Reserve and all of the Blinkwater Ridge exhibit predominantly Midlands Mistbelt Grassland, dominated by species such as Themeda triandra and Aristida junciformis, but also a large diversity of flowering plants (Figure 5) (Mucina and Rutherford 2006). This vegetation type is currently classified as “Endangered”, being regarded as one of the most threatened habitats in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal (Mucina and Rutherford 2006). The higher elevations of the Karkloof Nature Reserve are Mooi River Highland Grassland, which is classified as ‘Vulnerable’ because these grasslands are also under threat of extinction. According to the 2008 landcover map of KwaZulu-Natal (Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife 2011), only 24.5% of the original extent of the Midlands Mistbelt Grassland remained, much of it in a degraded condition, while 54.8% of the original extent of the Mooi River Highland Grassland remained, regardless of its condition.


New species of Eriopeltastes Burmeister & Schaum, 1840 (Coleoptera, Scarabaeidae, Cetoniinae, Trichiini) from South Africa.

Ricchiardi E, Perissinotto R - Zookeys (2014)

View of Karkloof, with grassland patches at the margin of mistbelt forest in the vicinities of the local colony of Eriopeltastes (Eriopeltastes) ornatus Ricchiardi, sp. n. (Photo: Kelson Camp).
© Copyright Policy - creative-commons-attribution
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4109448&req=5

Figure 4: View of Karkloof, with grassland patches at the margin of mistbelt forest in the vicinities of the local colony of Eriopeltastes (Eriopeltastes) ornatus Ricchiardi, sp. n. (Photo: Kelson Camp).
Mentions: Unlike the Drakensberg range, which is currently adequately protected through the Maloti Drakensberg Transfrontier World Heritage Site and includes a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance, the KZN Midlands has been exposed to large-scale degradation, mainly through agroforestry, inappropriate cultivation, uncontrolled fires, overgrazing by livestock and invasion of alien vegetation (Low and Rebelo 1996). The natural vegetation types where Eriopeltastes (Eriopeltastes) ornatus Ricchiardi, sp. n. is found are classified as Mooi River Highland Grassland (type Gs 8) and Midlands Mistbelt Grassland (type Gs 9), which are part of the Sub-Escarpment Grassland Bioregion of the Grassland Biome (Mucina and Rutherford 2006). In the Karkloof Nature Reserve, rainfall averages over 1000 mm pa, with most occurring in summer. As a result, the western section of the reserve consists mainly of Southern Mistbelt Forest (type FOz 3), with patches of sourveld grassland interspersed with Protea tree species (Figure 4). The lower reaches of the Karkloof Nature Reserve and all of the Blinkwater Ridge exhibit predominantly Midlands Mistbelt Grassland, dominated by species such as Themeda triandra and Aristida junciformis, but also a large diversity of flowering plants (Figure 5) (Mucina and Rutherford 2006). This vegetation type is currently classified as “Endangered”, being regarded as one of the most threatened habitats in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal (Mucina and Rutherford 2006). The higher elevations of the Karkloof Nature Reserve are Mooi River Highland Grassland, which is classified as ‘Vulnerable’ because these grasslands are also under threat of extinction. According to the 2008 landcover map of KwaZulu-Natal (Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife 2011), only 24.5% of the original extent of the Midlands Mistbelt Grassland remained, much of it in a degraded condition, while 54.8% of the original extent of the Mooi River Highland Grassland remained, regardless of its condition.

Bottom Line: This is only the fifth out of 12 known species in this genus for which the female is known.The species appears to be restricted to areas within or in the immediate vicinities of two marginal nature reserves, Karkloof and Blinkwater, in a grassland habitat that is regarded as one of the most threatened in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal.Despite its acknowledged importance as centre of endemism the area is currently in a precarious state of large-scale degradation.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Corso A. Tassoni 79/4, 10143 Torino, Italy.

ABSTRACT
Both male and female of a new species of Eriopeltasttes Burmeister & Schaum, 1840, E. (E.) ornatus Ricchiardi, sp. n., are described from the mistbelt grassland of KwaZulu-Natal. Sexual dimorphism is extreme in this genus, with females being brachypterous, fossorial and entirely black to dark brown in general body colour. This is only the fifth out of 12 known species in this genus for which the female is known. The species appears to be restricted to areas within or in the immediate vicinities of two marginal nature reserves, Karkloof and Blinkwater, in a grassland habitat that is regarded as one of the most threatened in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal. Despite its acknowledged importance as centre of endemism the area is currently in a precarious state of large-scale degradation.

No MeSH data available.