of eastern NSW

How to use this key

This key enables the user to identify adults of the dung beetles (family Scarabaeidae, subfamily Scarabaeinae) found in NSW between the coast and the western slopes of the Great Dividing Range. The species included are those known to occur in this region, with additional species from the collection of the Australian Museum.  It has been designed for use by people with a range of skill levels in the identification of insects. The terminology has been simplified as much as possible and notes and images are attached for each of the taxa and character states to assist in interpretation. Links to definitions are included for many terms, and an extensive glossary is also included.

This key does not separate the Scarabaeinae into the three tribes recognised in Australia (Coprini, Onthophagini and Scarabeini). The first step is to genus and then to species via linked sub-keys.

Both male and female dung beetles are included in the key in all cases except for the genus Onthophagus (males only). For this genus identification of females is difficult. The first step to identifying species within Onthophagus is therefore to determine the sex of the specimen (See Sexing dung beetles).

Undescribed species are not included in the key, but will be added as descriptions are published.  Approximately 10 undescribed species are known to occur in the region.  It is intended that distribution maps for all species will be attached in the near future, updated as time permits.

Two types of media are frequently attached to the character states: a notes page, often containing an image, and a separate image. The separate images are intended to give a bit more detail to the character state than the image included in the notes page. As a consequence, they are larger in size and may take longer to download. Users who experience long download times, or who possess a slow connection to the internet, may wish to skip examining the separate images and concentrate on the notes pages for their information.

This key was created by Rebecca Harris and Chris Reid at the Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation Research, The Australian Museum, Sydney. It is based on the revisions of the native Scarabaeine Dung Beetles of Australia by Matthews, E. G. (1972, 1974, 1976), Matthews and Stebnicka (1986), Storey (1977) and Storey and Weir (1990) together with the introduced species listed by Cassis and Weir (1992) and Tindale-Biscoe (1990).  The full classification and nomenclature of all the species included here is given by Cassis and Weir (1992).